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•  'CW1 


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BE  DONE  BY  IT  ; 


E.  T.  V. 


I  DEEM  it  expedient  to  put  the  reader  in  possession  of 
the  circumstances  under  which  this  work  was  written  ; 
for  which  purpose  it  is  necessary  that  I  premise  a  rapid 
sketch  of  Luther's  history,  in  its  connection  with  Pro 

Martin  Luther  was  born  in  the  year  1483,  at  Isleben, 
in  Saxony.  His  father,  who  had  wrought  in  the  mines  of 
Mansfield,  became  afterwards  a  proprietor  in  them ;  which 
enabled  him  to  educate  his  son,  not  only  with  a  pious 
father's  care,  but  with  a  rich  father's  liberality.  After 
furnishing  him  with  the  elements  in  some  inferior  schools, 
he  sent  him  at  an  early  age  to  the  University  of  Erfurth : 
where  he  made  considerable  proficiency  in  classical  learn 
ing,  eloquence  and  philosophy,  and  commenced  Master  of 
Arts  at  the  age  of  twenty.  His  parents  had  destined  him 
for  the  bar ;  but  after  devoting  himself  diligently  to  the 
study  of  the  civil  law  for  some  time,  he  forsook  it  ab 
ruptly,  and  shut  himself  up  in  a  convent  at  Erfurth. 

Here  he  became  remarkable  for  his  diligence,  self-morti 
fication  and  conscientiousness  ;  occasionally  suffering  great 
agitation  of  mind  from  an  ignorant  fear  of  God.  Habitu 
ally  sad,  and  at  intervals  overwhelmed  with  paroxysms  of 
mental  agony,  he  consulted  his  vicar-general  Staupitius ; 
who  comforted  him  by  suggesting,  that  he  did  not  know 
how  useful  and  necessary  this  trial  might  be  to  him  :  *  God 
does  not  thus  exercise  you  for  nothing,  said  he  ;  you  will 
one  day  see  that  he  will  employ  you  as  his  servant  for 



great  purposes.' — f  The  event,  adds  the  historian,  gave 
ample  honour  to  the  sagacity  of  Staupitius,  and  it  is  very 
evident  that  a  deep  and  solid  conviction  of  sin,  leading 
the  mind  to  the  search  of  Scripture-truth,  and  the  investi 
gation  of  the  way  of  peace,  was  the  main  spring  of 
Luther's  whole  after  conduct  ;  and  indeed  this  view  of  our 
reformer's  state  of  mind  furnishes  the  only  key  to  the  dis 
covery  of  the  real  motives,  by  which  he  was  influenced  in 
his  public  transactions.' 

It  was  not  till  the  second  year  of  his  residence  in  the 
monastery,  that  he  accidentally  met  with  a  Latin  Bible  in 
the  library,  when  he,  for  the  first  time,  discovered  that 
large  portions  of  the  Scriptures  were  withheld  from  the 
people.  Being  sick  this  same  year,  he  was  greatly  com 
forted  by  an  elder  brother  of  the  convent,  who  directed  his 
attention  to  that  precious  article  of  our  creed,  ( I  believe 
in  the  remission  of  sins.'  Staupitius,  he  afterwards 
remarked,  had  spoken  to  him  as  with  the  voice  of  an  angel, 
when  he  taught  him  that  c  true  repentance  begins  with  the 
love  of  righteousness  and  of  God ;'  but  the  old  monk  led 
him  up  to  the  source  of  this  love. — There  may  be,  there  is, 
a  breathing  after  righteousness,  and  a  feeling  after  God, 
which  prepareth  the  way  for  this  love ;  but  there  can  be 
no  real  righteousness  wrought,  or  real  love  of  it  and  of  God 
felt,  till  we  have  the  consciousness  of  his  forgiveness. — 
His  aged  adviser  represented  to  him,  that  this  article  im 
plied  not  merely  a  GENERAL  BELIEF — for  the  devils,  he 
remarked,  had  a  faith  of  that  sort — but  that  it  was  the 
command  of  God,  that  each  particular  person  should  apply 
this  doctrine  of  the  remission  of  sins  to  his  own  particular 
case ;  and  referred  him  for  the  proof  of  what  he  said  to 
Bernard,  Augustine  and  St.  Paul. — With  incredible  ardour 
he  now  gave  himself  up  to  the  study  of  the  Scriptures, 
and  of  Augustine's  works.  Afterwards  he  read  other 
divines,  but  he  stuck  close  to  Augustine  ;  and  held  by 
him,  as  we  find,  to  his  last  hour. 

PREFACE.  iii 

In  the  year  1507,  he  received  holy  orders  ;  and  in  the 
next  year  was  called  to  the  Professorship  of  Divinity  at 
Wittemberg,  through  the  recommendation  of  his  friend 
Staupitius ;  who  thereby  gave  him  an  opportunity  of  veri 
fying  his  own  forebodings  concerning  him.  Here  arose 
his  connection  with  the  elector  Frederic,  of  Saxony ; 
which  was  so  serviceable  to  him  in  all  his  after- conflicts. 
Frederic  was  tenderly  anxious  for  the  credit  and  success 
of  his  infant  seminary;  and  Luther  more  than  fulfilled 
his  expectations,  both  as  a  teacher  of  philosophy  and  as  a 
public  minister.  '  Eloquent  by  nature,  and  powerful  in 
moving  the  affections,  acquainted  also  in  a  very  uncom 
mon  manner  with  the  elegancies  and  energy  of  his  native 
tongue,  he  soon  became  the  wonder  of  his  age/ 

In  1510,  he  was  dispatched  to  Rome  on  some  import 
ant  business  of  his  order ;  which  he  performed  so  well  as  to 
receive  the  distinction  of  a  doctor's  degree  upon  his  return. 
Whilst  at  Rome  he  had  opportunities  of  noticing  the 
spirit  with  which  religious  worship  was  conducted  there — 
its  pomp,  hurriedness  and  politically  ;  and  was  thankful 
to  return  once  more  to  his  convent,  where  he  might  pray 
deliberately  and  fervently  without  being  ridiculed.  He 
now  entered  upon  a  public  exposition  of  the  Psalms  and 
Epistle  to  the  Romans  ;  studied  Greek  and  Hebrew  with 
great  diligence;  improved  his  taste,  and  enlarged  his 
erudition,  by  availing  himself  of  the  philological  labours 
of  Erasmus  (to  which  he  always  owned  that  he  had  been 
greatly  indebted)  ;  rejected  the  corruptive  yoke  of  Aris 
totle  and  the  Schoolmen,  and  rested  not,  like  the  satirist 
who  had  given  him  a  taste  for  pulling  down,  in  confusion, 
but  sought  and  found  his  peace  in  erecting  a  scriptural 
theology  upon  the  ruins  of  heathenized  Christianity.  The 
true  light  beamed  very  gradually  upon  his  mind  :  from  sus 
pecting  error  he  became  convinced  that  it  was  there  ;  con 
strained  to  reject  error,  he  was  forced  step  by  step  into  truth. 

Whilst  thus  employed,  with  great  contention  of  mind, 


in  studying,  ruminating,  teaching  and  preaching;  when 
now  he  had  been  favoured  with  some  peculiar  advan 
tages*  for  ascertaining  the  real  state  of  religion, 
both  amongst  clergy  and  laity,  in  his  own  country,  his 
attention  was  in  a  manner  compelled  to  the  subject  of 
Indulgences.  He  had  not  taken  it  up  as  a  speculation  ; 
he  did  not  know  the  real  nature,  grounds,  ingredients,  or 
ramifications  of  the  evil.  As  a  confessor,  he  had  to  do 
with  acknowledgments  of  sin ;  as  a  priest,  he  was  to  dic 
tate  penances.  The  penitents  refused  to  comply,  because 
they  had  dispensations  in  their  pockets. — What  a  chef- 
d'oeuvre  of  Satan's  was  here  !  It  is  not  <(  Sin  no  more, 
least  a  worse  thing  happen  unto  thee ;"  but  f  Sin  as  thou 
listest,  if  thou  canst  pay  for  it.'  Luther  would  not  ab 
solve.  The  brass-browed  Tetzel  stormed,  and  ordered 
his  pile  of  wood  to  be  lighted  that  he  might  strike  terror 
into  all  who  should  dare  to  think  of  being  heretics.  At 
present  Luther  only  said  with  great  mildness  from  the 
pulpit,  ( that  the  people  might  be  better  employed  than  in 
running  from  place  to  place  to  procure  INDULGENCES /f 

•  In  his  office  of  subaltern  vicar  he  had  about  forty  monasteries 
under  his  inspection,  which  he  had  taken  occasion  to  visit. 

f  It  is  not  to  be  inferred  that  Luther  was  at  this  time  ignorant  of 
the  doctrine  of  grace,  because  ignorant  of  this  particular  subject.  This 
is  the  memorable  year  1517.  In  the  preceding  year,  1516,  he  thus 
wrote  to  a  friend.  '  I  desire  to  know  what  your  soul  is  doing ;  whe 
ther  wearied  at  length  of  its  own  righteousness,  it  learns  to  refresh 
itself  and  to  rest  in  the  righteousness  of  Christ.  The  temptation  of 
presumption  in  our  age  is  strong  in  many,  and  specially  in  those  who 
labour  to  be  just  and  good  with  all  their  might,  and  at  the  same  time 
are  ignorant  of  the  righteousness  of  God,  which  in  Christ  is  conferred 
upon  all  with  a  rich  exuberance  of  gratuitous  liberality.  They  seek  in 
themselves  to  work  that  which  is  good,  in  order  that  they  may  have 
a  confidence  of  standing  before  God,  adorned  with  virtues  and  merits, 
which  is  an  impossible  attempt.  You,  my  friend,  used  to  be  of  this 
same  opinion,  or  rather — of  this  same  mistake ;  so  was  I ;  but  now  I 
am  fighting  against  the  error,  but  have  not  yet  prevailed.' — '  A  little 
before  the  controversy  concerning  Indulgences,  George,  Duke  of 
Saxony,  entreated  Staupitius  to  send  him  some  worthy  and  learned 


He  was  sure  it  was  wrong ;  he  would  try  to  check  it ; 
would  try,  with  canonical  regularity,  applying  to  arch 
bishop  and  bishop  for  redress  :  so  ignorant  of  the  prin 
cipals,  sub-ordinates  and  sub-sub-ordinates  in  the  traffic, 
that  he  called  upon  his  own  archbishop  vender  to  stop  the 
trade  ! 

See  how  God  worketh.  Ambition,  vanity  and  extrava 
gance  are  made  the  instrument  of  developing  the  abomi 
nations  of  the  Popedonx,  that  God  may  develope  himself 
by  his  dealings  with  it.  The  gorgeous  temple,  whose 
foundations  had  previously  been  laid,  to  the  wonderment 
of  man^  not  to  the  praise  and  worship  of  God,  must  con 
tinue  to  be  built ;  though  not  one  jot  may  be  subtracted 
from  Leo's  pomp,  sensuality  and  magnificence,  and  though 
his  treasury  be  already  exhausted.  Profligate  necessity 
leads  him  to  an  expedient,  which,  whilst  it  reveals  his 
own  spirit,  and  discloses  the  principles  of  the  government 

preacher.  The  vicar-general,  in  compliance  with  his  request,  dis 
patched  Lnther  with  strong  recommendations  to  Dresden.  George 
gave  him  an  order  to  preach  :  the  sum  of  Luther's  sermon  was  this  ; 
That  no  man  ought  to  despair  of  the  possibility  of  salvation  ;  that  those 
who  heard  the  word  of  God  with  attentive  minds  were  true  disciples  of 
Christ,  and  were  elected  and  predestinated  to  eternal  life.  He  enlarged 
on  the  subject,  and  shewed  that  the  whole  doctrine  of  predestination,  if 
the  foundation  be  laid  in  Christ,  was  of  singular  efficacy  to  dispel  that 
fear,  by  which  men,  trembling  under  the  sense  of  their  own  umvorthi- 
ness,  are  tempted  to  fly  from  God,  who  ought  to  be  our  sovereign 
refuge.' — Evidence  to  the  same  effect  may  be  drawn  in  abundance  from 
his  letter  to  Spalatinus,  written  in  this  same  preceding  year,  containing 
remarks  on  Erasmus's  interpretations  of  Scripture,  compared  with  those 
of  Jerome,  Augustine,  and  some  of  the  other  Fathers. — '  When  obe 
dience  to  the  commandment  takes  place  to  a  certain  degree,  and  yet 
has  not  Christ  for  its  foundation,  though  it  may  produce  such  men  as 
your  Fabricius's,  and  your  Regulus's,  that  is,  very  upright  moralists, 
according  to  man's  judgment,  it  has  nothing  of  the  nature  of  genuine 
righteousness.  For  men  are  not  made  truly  righteous,  as  Aristotle 
supposes,  by  performing  certain  actions  which  are  externally  good — 
for  they  may  still  be  counterfeit  characters — but  men  must  have  righte 
ous  principles  in  the  first  place,  and  then  they  will  not  fail  to  perform 
righteous  actions.  God  first  respects  Abel,  and  then  his  offering.'— 
Milner,  iv.  Cent  xvi.  chap.  ii. 


he  administers,  could  scarcely  fail  to  draw  some  at  least 
into  an  inquiry,  by  what  authority  they  were  called  to 
submit  to  such  enormities.  This  expedient  (not  new 
indeed — Julius  had  adopted  it  before — but  never  yet  so 
extensively  and  so  barefacedly  practised,  as  in  this  in 
stance)  was  no  other  than  to  make  gain  of  godliness,  by 
selling  merits  for  money — by  not  pardoning  only,  but  even 
legalizing,  contempt  and  defiance  of  God,  through  the 
distribution  of  certain  superfluous  riches  of  Christ  and  of 
his  saints,  of  which  the  Pope  has  the  key.  The  price 
demanded  varied  with  the  circumstances  of  the  buyer,  so 
that  all  ranks  of  men  might  be  partakers  of  the  benefit.  In 
fact,  all  orders  of  men  were  laid  under  contribution  to 
ecclesiastical  profligacy,  whilst  the  infamous  Dominican 
had  some  colour  for  his  boast,  that  he  had  saved  more 
souls  from  hell  by  his  Indulgences,  than  St.  Peter  had 
converted  to  Christianity  by  his  preaching. 

Luther  inquired,  studied,  prayed,  called  on  his  rulers; 
and  at  length,  receiving  no  help  but  only  silence  or 
cautions  from  authorities,  published  his  ninety-five  theses, 
or  doctrinal  propositions,  upon  the  subject:  which  were 
spread,  with  wonderful  impression  and  effect,  in  the  course 
of  fifteen  days,  throughout  all  Germany. 

Tetzel  answered  them  by  one  hundred  and  six :  which 
gave  occasion  to  sermons  in  reply  and  rejoinder  ;  and  so 
dutiful,  so  simple-hearted,  and  so  confident  in  truth,  was 
Luther,  that  he  sent  his  publications  to  his  superiors  in 
the  church,  his  diocesan  and  his  vicar-general ;  and  re 
quested  the  latter  to  transmit  them  to  the  Pope. — The 
cause  was  now  fairly  before  the  public.  New  antagonists 
arose.  Luther  was  elaborate  and  temperate  in  his  an 
swers. — At  length  the  lion  was  roused.  He  had  com 
mended  brother  Martin  for  his  very  fine  genius,  and  re 
solved  the  dispute  into  monastic  envy — a  rivalry  between 
the  Dominicans  and  the  Augustinians  :  but  now,  within 
sixty  days,  he  must  appear  to  answer  for  himself  at  Rome  $ 

PREFACE.  vii 

nay,  he  is  condemned  already  as  an  incorrigible  heretic, 
without  trial,  in  the  apostolic  chamber  at  Rome,  even 
before  the  citation  reaches  him.  Through  the  intercession 
of  his  powerful  friend  the  elector,  he  gets  a  hearing  at 
Augsburg;  if  that  can  be  called  a  hearing,  which  gives 
the  accused  no  alternative  but  admission  of  his  crime  and 
recantation. — Such  however  was  the  justice  and  the  judg 
ment  which  Luther  met  with  at  the  hands  of  Cajetan. 
After  going  to  and  beyond  the  uttermost  of  what  was  right 
in  submission — saving  nothing  but  to  write  down  the  six 
letters  (REVOCO),  which  would  have  settled  every  thing — 
though  there  were  other  weighty  matters  in  dispute, 
besides  the  Indulgences — he  left  his  imperious,  con 
temptuous  judge  with  an  appeal  which  he  took  care  to 
have  solemnly  registered  in  due  form  of  law,  ff  from  the 
Pope  ill-informed  to  the  same  most  holy  Leo  X.  when 
better  informed/' — Luther  had  in  his  several  conferences 
at  Augsburg,  written  and  unwritten,  stood  distinctly  upon 
his  distinguishing  ground,  (  Scripture  against  all  papal 
decrees :'  it  is  his  glory  on  this  occasion,  that  he  main 
tained  it  in  the  very  jaws  of  the  usurper's  representative ; 
an  abject  mendicant  monk,  as  the  cardinal  haughtily 
termed  him,  with  all  due  and  unfeigned  respect  for  human 
superiority,  took  and  acted  the  language,  which  two  ap 
prehended  and  arraigned  Apostles  had  used  before  him, 
((  We  ought  to  obey  God  rather  than  men." — Cajetan  got 
no  honour  at  Rome  by  his  negociations  at  Augsburg ;  the 
papal  counsellors  complained  that  he  had  been  severe 
and  illiberal,  when  he  ought  to  have  promised  riches,  a 
bishopric,  and  a  cardinal's  hat.  Such  were  their  hot- 
burning  coals  to  be  heaped  upon  the  head  of  inflexibility  ! 
On  his  return  to  Wittemberg,  at  the  close  of  1518, 
Luther  meditated  to  leave  Germany  and  retire  into 
France ;  but  the  elector  forbad  him,  and  made  earnest 
application  to  the  emperor  Maximilian  to  iziterpose,  and 
get  the  controversy  settled.  Meanwhile,  Luther  renewed 

viii  PREFACE. 

his  appeal  to  the  Pope ;  which  was  followed,  strange  to 
tell,  by  a  new  bull  in  favour  of  Indulgences,  confirming 
all  the  ancient  abuses,  but  not  even  mentioning  Luther's 
name.  In  his  then  state  of  mind,  clinging  as  he  still  did 
to  the  Pope's  authority,  this  document  was  opportune  ;  as 
serving  to  make  his  retreat  impossible.  Maximilian's 
death,  which  took  place  early  in  1519,  increased  the  elec 
tor's  power  of  protecting  Luther  during  the  interregnum, 
and  led  to  more  lenient  measures  at  Rome.  The  courte 
ous  Saxon  knight  was  sent  to  replace  the  imperious 
Dominican. — '  Martin,  said  he,  I  took  you  for  some  soli 
tary  old  theologian ;  whereas  I  find  you  a  person  in  all  the 
vigour  of  life.  Then  you  are  so  much  favoured  with  the 
popular  opinion,  that  I  could  not  expect,  with  the  help  of 
twenty-five  thousand  soldiers,  to  force  you  with  me  to 
Rome/ — Luther  was  firm,  though  softened  :  he  had  no 
objection  to  writing  submissively  to  the  Pope  ;  as  yet  he 
recognised  his  authority,  and  it  was  a  principle  with  him 
to  shew  respect  to  his  superiors,  and  to  obey  "  the  powers 
that  be,"  in  lawful  things,  if  constituted  lawfully. 

In  the  month  of  July,  1519,  were  held  the  famous  dis 
putations  at  Leipsic ;  where  Luther,  who  had  been  refused 
a  safe  conduct,  if  he  attempted  to  appear  in  the  character 
of  a  disputant,  was  at  length  permitted  to  take  up  Carol- 
stadt's  half-defended  cause,  and  to  answer  for  himself  in 
opposition  to  one  of  the  most  learned,  eloquent  and  embit 
tered  of  his  papal  opponents.  Eckius,  Luther's  quondam 
friend,  had  come  to  earn  laurels  for  himself,  and  strength 
for  the  Papacy ;  but  He  who  gives  the  prey  assigned  it  to 
truth,  and  made  this  the  occasion  of  supplying  Luther 
with  many  able  coadjutors.  Melancthon's  approval  of 
his  doctrine  and  attachment  to  his  person  were  the  off 
spring  of  this  rencounter.  '  At  Wittemberg,  Melancthon 
had  probably  been  well  acquainted  with  Luther's  lec 
tures  on  divinity  ;  but  it  was  in  the  citadel  of  Leipsic  that 
he  heard  the  Romish  tenets  defended  by  all  the  arguments 


that  ingenuity  could  devise;  there  his  suspicions  were 
strengthened  respecting  the  evils  of  the  existing  hierarchy; 
and  there  his  righteous  spirit  was  roused  to  imitate,  in  the 
grand  object  of  his  future  inquiries  and  exertions,  the 
indefatigable  endeavours  of  his  zealous  and  adventurous 

Here  it  was,  thai  the  question  of  papal  supremacy 
first  came  into  debate.  The  act  of  granting  Indulgences 
assumed  the  right;  but  the  principle  was  now  brought 
forwards  by  Eckius,  in  malicious  wilfulness,  for  the  pur 
pose  of  throwing  scandal  upon  Luther ;  who  as  yet,  how 
ever,  (e  saw  men,  but  as  trees,  walking  ;"  and  even  main 
tained  the  Pope's  supremacy,  though  on  inferior  grounds. 
He  gave  it  him  by  a  right  founded  on  human  reasons ; 


Though  Eckius's  thirteen  propositions,  and  Luther's  ad 
versative  ones,  had  respect  chiefly  to  the  papal  domination, 
they  comprehended  other  topics  ;  and  much  important 
matter  of  a  more  generally  interesting  nature  was  elicited 
and  agitated  by  the  discussion.  On  all  the  subjects  of 
debate,  Luther  shewed  a  mind  opening  itself  to  truth,  as 
in  the  instance  just  cited ;  though  it  may  be  doubted  who 
ther  he  was  yet  fully  enlightened  into  any.  Even  on 
Justification,  and  on  Freewill,  though  he  held  the  sub 
stance  of  what  he  taught  afterwards,  he  did  not  use  the 
same  materials,  or  the  same  form  of  defence.  Hear  his 
own  account,  as  given  in  the  preface  to  his  works.  f  My 
own  case,  says  he,  is  a  notable  example  of  the  difficulty 
with  which  a  man  emerges  from  erroneous  notions  of  long 
standing.  How  true  is  the  proverb,  custom  is  a  second 
nature  !  How  true  is  that  saying  of  Augustine,  habit,  if 
not  resisted,  becomes  necessity !  I,  who  both  publicly 
and  privately,  had  taught  divinity  with  the  greatest  dili 
gence  for  seven  years,  insomuch  that  1  retained  in  my 
memory  almost  every  word  of  my  lectures,  was  in  fact  at 
that  time  only  just  initiated  into  the  knowledge  and  faith 


of  Christ;  I  had  only  just  learnt  that  a  man  must  be  justi 
fied  and  saved  not  by  works  but  by  the  faith  of  Christ ; 
and  lastly,  in  regard  to  pontifical  authority,  though  I  pu 
blicly  maintained  that  the  Pope  was  not  the  head  of  the 
church  by  a  DIVINE  RIGHT,  yet  I  stumbled  at  the  very  next 
step,  namely,  that  the  whole  papal  system  was  a  Satanic 
invention.  This  I  did  not  see,  but  contended  obstinately 
for  the  Pope's  RIGHT,  FOUNDED  ON  HUMAN  REASONS  ;  so 
thoroughly  deluded  was  I  by  the  example  of  others,  by 
the  title  of  HOLY  CHURCH,  and  by  my  own  habits.  Hence 
I  have  learnt  to  have  more  candour  for  bigoted  Papists, 
especially  if  they  are  not  much  acquainted  with  sacred,  or 
perhaps,  even  with  profane  history.' — When  the  debate 
was  over,  Luther  calmly  reviewed  his  own  thirteen  propo 
sitions,  and  published  them,  with  concise  explanations  and 
proofs ;  establishing  his  conclusions  chiefly  by  an  appeal 
to  Scripture  and  to  ecclesiastical  history. 

These  wrestling-matches  of  ancient  times  were  the 
seed-bed  of  the  reviving  church  :  the  people  heard,  the 
people  read;  and  thus,  according  to  Luther's  favourite 
maxim,  THE  STONE  which  is  to  destroy  Antichrist  WAS 


In  1520,  Miltitz  advised  a  second  letter  to  the  Pope. 
Advancing,  as  he  now  was,  towards  meridian  light,  he  found 
it  difficult  to  do  this  with  integrity ;  it  may  be  questioned, 
whether  he  succeeded  in  his  attempt.  Already  he  had 
disclosed  to  his  friend  that  he  had  not  much  doubt  but 
the  Pope  is  the  real  Antichrist.  (  The  lives  and  conver 
sation  of  the  Popes,  their  actions,  their  decrees,  all,  said 
he,  agree  most  wonderfully  to  the  descriptions  of  him  in 
Holy  Writ.'  With  what  consistency  could  he  still  ap 
proach  him  as  his  authorized  head  and  desired  protector, 
flatter  his  person,  and  propose  terms  of  mutual  silence? 
True,  the  tone  of  his  address  is  much  altered  from  that 
of  his  former  letter ;  he  declares  many  of  the  abomina 
tions  of  his  government ;  he  expressly  refuses  to  recant ; 


he  insists  upon  his  great  principle,  (  perfect  freedom  in 
interpreting  the  word  of  God.'  He  is  also  peculiarly  wise, 
just,  plain  and  forcible  in  warning  him  against  the  big 
swelling  words,  with  which  his  flatterers  dignified  him : 
"  O  my  people,  they  which  call  thee  BLESSED  cause 
thee  to  err."  But  we  could  be  glad  to  see  more  of  frank 
ness  and  less  of  compliment  j  the  person  not  so  subtilely 
separated  from  the  office,  the  man  from  his  court ;  wishes 
and  prayers  for  good  suppressed,  where  he  had  begun  to 
be  persuaded  that  there  could  be  only  curse  and  destruc 
tion.  The  only  plausible  defence  is,  his  mind  was  not 
yet  FULLY  made  up  as  to  what  the  Pope  is  :  he  had  doubts, 
he  thought  himself  bound  to  go  to  the  uttermost  in  endea 
vours  to  conciliate,  such  an  appeal  would  be  a  touchstone. 
In  estimating  the  rectitude  of  this  measure,  every  thing,  it 
is  plain,  depends  upon  the  degree  of  light  which  had  then 
beamed  upon  his  mind  :  but  it  is  difficult  to  conceive,  that, 
writing,  as  he  had  done,  early  in  this  same  year  to  Spala  - 
tinus,  and  writing,  as  he  afterwards  did,  in  the  month  of 
June,  his  treatise  on  the  necessity  of  reformation,  and,  in 
the  month  of  August,  his  Babylonish  captivity,  he  should, 
in  the  intermediate  space,  have  retained  a  state  of  mind 
which,  consistently  with  simplicity,  could  dictate  his,  or 
indeed  any  letter  of  accommodation  to  Leo. 

At  length,  however,  having  abundantly  proved  his 
David,  and  convinced  him  of  his  foolishness,  the  Lord  took 
it  clean  away  from  him,  whilst  He  sealed  up  his  enemies 
in  theirs.  Never  was  there  a  more  manifest  illustration  of 
Jewish  blindness  and  induration — ((  He  hath  blinded  their 
eyes,  and  hardened  their  heart" — than  in  the  counsels  of 
the  Conclave  at  this  period.  Leo  disdains  to  be  conciliated. 
After  three  years'  delay,  when  Lutheranism  has  now 
grown  to  a  size  and  a  strength  which  no  fire  can  burn, 
the  damnatory  bull  is  issued  on  the  15th  of  June,  1520,  at 
Rome,  and  after  a  further  short  interval  of  mysterious 
silence  is  published  in  Germany.  It  extracted  forty-one 

xii  PREFACE. 

propositions  out  of  his  writings,  declaring  them  all  to  be 
heretical,  forbad  the  reading  and  commanded  the  burning 
of  his  books,  excommunicated  his  person,  and  required  all 
secular  princes  to  aid  in  his  arrest. 

Luther  was  now  quite  prepared  to  receive  it ;  prepared 
through  the  judgment  which  the  Lord  had  now  enabled 
him  to  form  concerning  the  papal  usurpation;  and  pre 
pared,  through  the  willingness  which  He  had  given  him  to 
suffer  martyrdom  for  the  truth,  if  called  to  that  issue.  The 
trenches  were  now  fairly  opened ;  the  war  was  begun. 
His  first  measure  was  to  publish  two  Tracts  :  in  one  of 
which  he  treated  the  bull  ironically,  pretending  to  have 
some  doubts  of  its  authenticity,  but  still  entitling  it  the 
execrable  bull  of  Antichrist,  and  calling  upon  the  emperor 
and  all  Christian  princes  to  come  and  defend  the  church 
against  the  Papists  ;  in  the  other,  he  gave  a  serious  answer 
to  the  forty-one  condemned  articles,  defending  the  autho 
rity  of  Scripture,  and  calling  every  body  to  study  it,  with 
out  deference  to  the  expositions  of  men.  Having  answered, 
he  acted  his  reply  to  it.  If  the  bull  were  valid,  it  \vas  not 
to  be  answered,  but  obeyed :  he  would  shew,  therefore, 
that  he  accounted  it  an  illegal  instrument.  The  Pope  was 
the  separatist,  not  he ;  a  bull  of  Antichrist  is  a  bull  to  be 
burnt.  He  therefore  takes  the  bull,  together  with  the  papal 
decretals,  and  such  parts  of  the  canon  law  as  had  respect 
to  the  pontifical  jurisdiction,  and  with  all  due  solemnity 
and  publicity  commits  them  to  the  flames :  a  measure,  which 
he  afterwards  proved  to  have  been  deliberately  adopted — 
not  the  effect  of  heat  and  rage,  but  of  calm  conviction — 
by  selecting  thirty  articles  from  the  books  he  had  burnt, 
publishing  them  with  a  short  comment,  and  appealing  to 
the  public  whether  he  had  shewn  them  less  respect  than 
they  deserved.  The  two  last  of  these  were,  Article  29. 
fThe  Pope  has  the  power  to  interpret  Scripture,  and 
to  teach  as  he  pleases  j  and  no  person  is  allowed  to  in 
terpret  in  a  different  way.'  Article  30.  <  The  Pope  does 

PREFACE.  xiii 

not  derive  from  the  Scripture,  but  the  Scripture  derives 
from  the  Pope  authority,  power  and  dignity.'  He  had  more, 
he  said,  of  like  kind.  Assume  his  cause  to  be  just,  and  his 
bold  proceedings  were  unquestionably  right.  His  was  not 
a  case  for  half-measures.  He  was  either  a  subject  for 
burning,  or  a  vindicator  of  the  oppressed.  What  sort  of 
vindicator  ?  Not  by  the  knight-errant's  sword,  but  by 
such  acts  as  should  declare  him  to  be  in  earnest,  and  such 
arguments  as  should  shew  that  he  was  not  in  earnest  for 
nought.  His  publications  at  this  period,  and  during  the  two 
preceding  years,  were  almost  without  number.  He  knew 
that  his  life  was  in  his  hand  ;  he  prized  the  short  interval, 
as  he  anticipated,  which  was  allowed  him  ;  the  cause  of 
Christ,  so  evidently  committed  into  his  hands,  was  to  be 
maintained,  extended,  and  at  length  made  triumphant, 
only  by  the  bloodless  sword  of  the  Spirit.  That  sword 
therefore  he  would  wield  with  all  his  might,  without  ces 
sation,  faintness,  or  weariness.  His  main  expectation 
was  from  the  word  of  God  simply  and  intelligibly  set 
forth.  He  added  short  practical  and  experimental  trea 
tises — appeals  to  plain  sense  and  Scripture — but  the  ex 
pounded  word  was  his  stay.  Hence  his  great  labour  in  the 
Epistle  to  the  Galatians  ;  which  he  first  published  in  the 
year  1519,  and,  after  fifteen  years  of  additional  research, 
having  made  it  one  material  subject  of  his  public  lectures 
during  all  that  period,  revised,  corrected,  enlarged,  and 
reedited  in  1635. 

(  I  have  repeatedly  read  and  meditated  on  this  treatise, 
says  his  pious,  laborious  and  philosophical  historian,  and, 
after  the  most  mature  reflection,  am  fully  convinced,  that, 
as  it  was  one  of  the  most  powerful  means  of  reviving  the 
light  of  Scripture  in  the  sixteenth  century,  so  it  will,  in 
all  ages,  be  capable  of  doing  the  same,  under  the  blessing 
of  God,  whenever  a  disposition  shall  appear  among  men  to 
regard  the  oracles  of  divine  truth,  and  whenever  souls  shall 
be  distressed  with  a  sense  of  in-dwelling  sin.  For  I  per- 

xiv  PREFACE. 

fectly  despair  of  its  being  relished  at  all  by  any  but  serious, 
humble  and  contrite  spirits,  such  being  indeed  the  only 
persons  in  the  world,  to  whom  the  all-important  article  of 
justification  will  appear  worthy  of  all  acceptation.  The 
AUTHOR  himself  had  ploughed  deep  into  the  human  heart, 
and  knew  its  native  depravity ;  he  had  long  laboured,  to 
no  purpose,  to  gain  peace  of  conscience  by  legal  observ 
ances  and  moral  works,  and  had  been  relieved  from  the 
most  pungent  anxiety,  by  a  spiritual  discovery  of  the 
doctrine  just  mentioned.  He  was  appointed  in  the  coun 
sels  of  Providence — by  no  means  exclusively  of  the  other 
reformers,  but  in  a  manner  more  extraordinary  and  much 
superior — to  teach  mankind,  after  upwards  of  a  thousand 
years'  obscurity,  this  great  evangelical  tenet — compared 
with  which  how  little  appear  all  other  objects  of  contro 
versy  !  namely,  that  man  is  not  justified  by  the  works  of 
the  law,  but  by  the  faith  of  Christ/ 

I  cannot  deny  myself  the  satisfaction  of  inserting  one 
extract  from  this  truly  spiritual  work. — e  This  doctrine, 
therefore,  of  faith  must  be  taught  in  its  purity.  Namely, 
that  as  a  believer,  thou  art  by  faith  so  entirely  united  to 
Christ  that  he  and  thou  are  made  as  it  were  one  person.  That 
thou  canst  not  be  separated  from  Christ  5  but  always  adherest 
so  closely  to  him,  as  to  be  able  to  say  with  confidence,  I  am 
one  with  Christ ;  that  is,  Christ's  righteousness,  his  vic 
tory,  his  life,  death,  and  resurrection,  are  all  mine.  On  the 
other  hand,  Christ  may  say,  I  am  that  sinner ;  the  meaning 
of  which  is,  in  other  words,  his  sins,  his  death,  and  punish 
ment,  are  mine,  because  he  is  united  and  joined  to  me,  and  I 
to  him.  For  by  faith  we  are  so  joined  together  as  to  become 
one  flesh  and  one  bone.  We  are  members  of  his  body,  of 
his  flesh,  and  of  his  bones  ;  so  that,  in  strictness,  there  is 
more  of  an  union  between  Christ  and  me,  than  exists  even 
in  the  relation  of  husband  and  wife,  where  the  two  are  con 
sidered  as  one  flesh.  This  faith,  therefore,  is  by  no  means 
an  ineffective  quality  j  but  possesses  so  great  excellency, 


that  it  utterly  confounds  and  destroys  the  foolish  dreams 
and  imaginations  of  the  Sophisters,  who  have  contrived  a 
number  of  metaphysical  fictions  concerning  faith  and 
charity,  merits  and  qualifications. — These  things  are  of 
such  moment,  that  I  would  gladly  explain  them  more  at 
large,  if  I  could.'* 

Luther  had  many  antagonists  in  his  warfare.  As  his  as 
sertive  manifestoes  were  clear,  argumentative  and  decisive; 
so  his  answers  to  those  who  attacked  them  were  prompt, 
energetic  and  full.  He  neither  spurned,  nor  delayed,  nor 
spared.  His  admiring  historian  thinks  it  necessary  to 
apologize  for  his  vehemence,  and  for  his  acrimony.  I  do 
not  concur  with  him  in  the  sense  of  that  necessity.  God, 
who  made  the  man,  gave  him  his  language.  His  language 
was  the  language  for  his  case,  for  his  hour,  for  his  hearers 
and  readers.  Such  were  the  publications  wanted ;  such 
would  be  read  ;  they  agitated  the  high,  they  were  under 
stood  by  the  vulgar.  His  own  account  of  himself,  as 
given  at  a  later  period,  is  worth  a  thousand  apologies.  '  I, 
says  he,  am  born  to  be  a  rough  controversialist ;  I  clear 
the  ground,  pull  up  weeds,  fill  up  ditches,  and  smooth  the 
roads.  But  to  build,  to  plant,  to  sow,  to  water,  to  adorn  the 
country,  belongs,  by  the  grace  of  God,  to  Melancthon/ — If 
he  had  a  spirit  of  rancorous  enmity  and  cold-blooded  malice 
towards  his  opponents,  let  him  be  condemned  :  but,  we  all 
know,  severe  words  may  be  spoken  without  a  particle  of 
malignity,  and  a  smooth  tongue  often  disguises  an 

*  There  is  a  defect  in  Luther's  statement  of  the  believer's  union  with 
Christ :  he  does  not  mark,  he  did  not  discern,  its  origin  and  founda 
tion,  and  its  consequent  exclusiveness  and  appropriateness  to  a  peculiar 
people.  He  refers  it  all  to  his  believing ;  which  is  the  manifestation, 
realization  and  effectuation  of  that  relation  which  has  subsisted,  not 
in  divine  purpose  only,  but  in  express  stipulation  and  arrangement, 
from  everlasting,  and  which  has  been  the  source  of  that  very  faith,  or 
rather  of  that  energizing  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  which  he  considers  as  its 
parent.  But  the  thing  itself,  the  nature  of  this  union,  is  so  beautifully 
described,  that,  whatever  be  ita  defects,  I  could  be  glad  to  give  it  all 

xvi  PREFACE. 

envenomed  spirit. — /  am  much  more  disposed  to  quarrel 
with  his  vanity,  than  with  his  petulance. 

The  obligations  which  Charles  owed  to  Frederic  were 
such  as  to  secure  his  protection  for  Luther,  to  a  certain 
extent.  For  his  opinions  he  cared  not,  though  his  own 
prejudices  were  no  doubt  on  the  side  of  the  old  system  : 
he  cared  only  for  the  political  bearings  of  the  question ; 
and  it  Avas  obvious  the  elector's  friend  must  not  be  con 
demned  without  a  hearing.  Hence,  after  much  negociation 
and  correspondence,  his  appearance  at  Worms  is  agreed 
upon.  His  wise  protector  gets  an  express  renunciation  of 
the  principle,  '  Faith  not  to  be  kept  with  heretics,'  from 
Charles,  several  of  the  princes  countersign  his  safe  conduct, 
and  Luther,  as  if  to  face  as  many  devils  as  there  were 
tiles  upon  the  houses  of  the  selected  city,  preaches  his  way 
up  to  Worms.  His  defence  there  has  sometimes  disap 
pointed  me,  and  he  seems  afterwards  to  have  felt  that  he 
had  been  too  tame  and  uncxplicit  himself.  When  he 
speaks,  at  a  still  later  period,  of  his  boldness  ;  questioning 
whether  he  should  in  that  day  (but  a  little  before  his 
death)  have  been  so  bold — a  fact  recited  triumphantly  by 
many  historians — it  is  with  reference  to  his  courage  in 
determining,  or  rather  in  proceeding  to  go  up,  notwith 
standing  the  strong  dissuasives  which  he  met  with  on  his 
way,  that  he  gives  God  glory.  He  who  made  man's 
mouth  and  gives  him  wisdom,  and  who  hath  promised  for 
such  very  occasions,  "  I  will  give  you  a  mouth  and  wisdom 
which  all  your  adversaries  shall  not  be  able  to  gainsay  or 
resist,"  did,  no  doubt,  order  his  speech  in  perfect  wisdom, 
at  that  trying  hour.  The  speech  he  delivered  was  the 
speech  for  the  time  and  for  the  case.  But  the  question  is, 
was  it  the  speech  we  should  have  looked  for  from  a 
Luther  ?  We  admit  there  never  was  such  a  moment,  pos 
sibly,  since  the  Apostles'  days.  All  the  pomp  of  Caesar 
was  before  him.  But  I  confess  there  is  more  of  the 
elector  Frederic,  Spalatinus  and  Melancthon,  than  of  Paul 

PREFACE.  xvii 

before  Felix,  or  of  Peter  and  John  before  the  council. 
Hear  his  own^account.  ( I  have  great  misgivings  (says 
he  in  a  letter  to  Spalatinus  some  months  after),  and  am 
greatly  troubled  in  conscience,  because,  in  compliance 
with  your  advice,  and  that  of  some  other  friends,  I 
restrained  my  spirit  at  Worms,  and  did  not  conduct 
myself,  like  an  Elijah,  in  attacking  those  idols.  Were  I 
ever  to  stand  before  that  audience  again,  they  should 
hear  very  different  language  from  me.'  And  again;  cTo 
please  certain  friends,  and  that  I  might  not  appear  unrea 
sonably  obstinate,  I  did  not  speak  out  at  the  diet  of 
Worms  ;  I  did  not  withstand  the  tyrants  with  that  decided 
firmness  and  animation  which  became  a  confessor  of  the 
Gospel !  Moreover  I  am  quite  weary  of  hearing  myself 
commended  for  the  moderation  which  I  shewed  on  that 
occasion/ — The  dean  sets  it  all  down  to  humility;  but  I 
doubt  not  there  was  much  of  well-founded  and  conscien 
tious  self-upbraiding  in  these  acknowledgments.  —  He 
maintained  his  principle,  however  ;  '  a  free  use  of  the 
word;  the  Scripture  for  all,  to  be  freely  interpreted  by  all: 
retract  he  would,  if  convinced  by  Scripture,  but  not  else.' 
Upon  being  informed  that  he  was  required  to  say  simply 
and  clearly  whether  he  would  or  would  not  retract  his 
opinions,  '  My  answer,  said  Luther  instantly,  shall  be 
direct  and  plain.  I  cannot  think  myself  bound  to  believe 
either  the  Pope  or  his  councils ;  for  it  is  very  clear,  not 
only  that  they  have  often  erred,  but  often  contradicted 
themselves.  Therefore,  unless  1  am  convinced  by  Scrip 
ture  or  clear  reasons,  my  belief  is  so  confirmed  by  the 
scriptural  passages  I  have  produced,  and  my  conscience  so 
determined  to  abide  by  the  word  of  God,  that  I  neither 
can  nor  will  retract  any  thing  ;  for  it  is  neither  safe  nor 
innocent  to  act  against  a  man's  conscience.'  There  is 
something  particularly  affecting  in  the  words  which  follow: 
1  Here  I  stand,  I  cannot  do  otherwise.  May  God  help 
me.  Amen.' 


xviii  PREFACE. 

Many  attempts  were  made  to  persuade  him  in  secret ; 
but  the  upshot  was,  he  would  stand  by  the  word  ;  '  rather 
than  give  up  the  word  of  God,  when  the  case  is  quite 
clear,  I  WOULD  LOSE  MY  LIFE.'* 

In  the  course  of  three  hours  after  his  last  interview  with 
the  elector  Archbishop  of  Treves  (who,  though  a  bigoted 
Roman  Catholic,  had  shewn  strong  dispositions  to  serve 
him),  Luther  received  an  order  to  quit  Worms  j  only 
twenty- one  days  being  allowed  for  his  safe  conduct,  and 
he  not  permitted  to  preach  in  his  way  home.  A  sanguinary 
edict  was  then  smuggled  through  the  diet :  many  of  the 
members  had  left  Worms  before  it  was  voted ;  the  cere 
mony  of  enacting  it  took  place  in  the  emperor's  private 
apartments ;  the  decree  was  ante-dated,  as  though  it  had 
passed  on  the  8th  instead  of  the  21st,  and  Aleander,  the 
Pope's  legate,  Luther's  accuser,  who  had  been  much 
gravelled  by  the  vast  consideration  and  respect  shewn  to 
Luther,  received  it,  as  a  sort  of  sop  and  soporific,  from  the 
emperor,  that  he  should  draw  up  the  sentence. 

( The   edict,   as   might  be   expected,    was   penned  by 

*  Much  was  said,  in  the  course  of  these  discussions,  about  a  future 
council.  Luther  acknowledged  the  authority  of  such  a  council;  main 
taining  only,  that  it  must  be  legally  convened — the  civil  governor  being 
the  alone  rightful  summoner — and  that  its  decisions  must  be  regulated 
by  the  word  of  God.  There  is  more  of  sound  than  substance  in  the 
recognition  of  this  appeal ;  upon  Luther's  principles.  Waving  the 
difficulty  of  summoning  such  a  GENERAL  COUNCIL,  where  deputies  are 
to  be  brought  together  out  of  all  Christendom,  divided  as  it  is  into  inde 
pendent  states,  under  various  supreme  heads  ;  what  is  the'  decision  at 
last  ?  The  testimony  of  Scripture  is  testimony  of  Scripture  to  my  con 
science,  onb  so  far  as  I  am  led  to  understand  Scripture  in  a  sense 
•which  is  coincident  with  the  general  decision.  If  that  decision  be  con 
trary  to  my  own  deliberate,  conscientious  and  supposedly  Spirit-taught 
views,  as  a  lover  of  order  I  bow  to  the  tribunal  by  submitting  to  its 
penalties,  whether  positive  or  negative ;  but  I  cannot  confess  myself 
convinced,  or  adopt  the  judgment  of  the  council  as  my  own,  without 
violating  Luther's  fundamental  principle,  '  the  word  my  judge.'  (See 
Part  ii.  Sect.  xii.  note  k  of  the  following  work.) — Luther's  last  answer 
confirms  the  distinction  which  I  have  here  been  marking ;  it  is  to 
the  supposed  decision  of  a  council,  that  his  resolution  applies. 

PREFACE.  xix 

Aleander  with  all  possible  rancour  and  malice.     The  first 
part  of  it  states  that  it  is  the  duty  of  the  emperor  to  pro 
tect  religion  and  extinguish  heresies.     The  second  part 
relates  the  pains  that  had  been  taken  to  bring  back  the 
heretic  to   repentance.     And  the  third   proceeds  to  the 
condemnation  of  MARTIN  LUTHER  in  the  strongest  terms. 
The   emperor    says,   that  by  the  advice  of  the  electors, 
princes,  orders,  and  states  of  the  empire,  he  had  resolved 
to  execute  the  sentence  of  the  Pope,  who  was  the  proper 
guardian  of  the  Catholic  faith.     He  declares,  that  Luther 
must  be  looked  on  as  excommunicated,  and  as  a  notorious 
heretic ;  and  he  forbids  all  persons,  under  the  penalty  of 
high  treason,  to  receive,  maintain,  or  protect  him.     He 
orders,  that  after  the  twenty-one  days  allowed  him  he 
should  be  proceeded  against  in  whatever  place  he  might 
be  ;  or  at  least  that  he  should  be  seized  and  kept  prisoner 
till  the  pleasure  of  his  imperial  majesty  was  known.     He 
directs   the  same  punishment  to   be   inflicted  on  all  his 
adherents  or  favourers  ;  and  that  all  their  goods  should  be 
confiscated,  unless  they  can  prove  that  they  have  left  his 
party  and  received  absolution.     He  forbids   all  persons  to 
print,  sell,  buy  or  read  any  of  his  books,  and  he  enjoins  the 
princes  and  magistrates  to  cause  them  to  be  burnt.' 

This  high-sounding  decree  was  never  executed.  Charles 
was  too  busy,  too  much  entangled  with  crooked  and  con 
flicting  politics,  too  dependent  and  too  needy,  to  take  ven 
geance  for  the  Pope,  at  present,  in  Germany.  In  1522,  a 
diet  of  the  empire  held  at  Nuremberg  agreed  to  a  con 
clusion  which  Luther  considered  as  an  abrogation  of  it.  In 
1523,  a  second  diet  held  at  the  same  place,  after  some 
considerable  difference  of  sentiment,  concurred  in  a  similar 
recess.  The  Lutherans  were  divided  between  hope  and 
fear,  alternately  elated  and  depressed,  during  some  succeed 
ing  years.  In  1526,  when  evil  had  been  anticipated,  the 
diet  of  Spires,  after  much  jangling,  terminated  favourably. 
The  wrath,  however,  was  but  deferred.  In  1529,  a  second 



diet  at  Spires  went  nigh  to  establish  the  neglected  edict  of 
Worms.  The  violence,  with  which  it  was  conducted,  led 
to  a  Protest  of  the  Lutheran  states  and  princes  (whence 
we  have  derived  our  name  of  Protestants),  and  was  followed 
by  the  famous  defensive  league  of  Smalcalde.  The  decree 
of  Augsburg,  in  1530,  served  to  confirm  the  necessity  of 
this  league.  The  most  moderate  expressions  of  doctrine, 
and  the  most  guarded  behaviour,  had  no  conciliatory 
efficacy  ;  force  was  prepared,  and  must  be  repelled  by 
military  combination.  It  is  not  by  strength,  however, 
or  by  might — human  strength  and  human  might — that  the 
Lord  wins  his  battles.  That  formidable  confederacy, 
which  could  bring  70,000  men  into  the  field,  under  the 
banner  of  John  the  Constant,  to  meet  a  not  more  than  8000 
of  the  emperor's,  soon  melted  away  like  the  winter's  snow. 
In  1547,  the  emperor  carries  all  before  him — takes  the  two 
great  Protestant  leaders  captive,  and  makes  a  spectacle  of 
them  to  their  subjects — establishes  his  Interim,  slays  the 
Protestant  witnesses  and  assumes  to  be  even  the  MAN  OF 
SIN'S  master,  in  his  domination  over  the  Lord's  heritage. 
But  behold  !  in  three  years  and  a  half,  the  witnesses 
<(  whose  dead  bodies  have  been  lying  in  the  street  of  the 
great  city,  which  spiritually  is  called  Sodom  and  Egypt, 
where  also  our  Lord  was  crucified  " — even  in  that  Germany 
which  has  been  called  the  highway  of  Europe — are  seen 
standing  upon  their  feet  again.  The  treacherous  and 
intriguing  Maurice  is  made  the  instrument  of  bringing 
deliverance  to  the  Protestants.  The  emperor  becomes  in 
his  turn  a  fugitive,  a  panic-struck,  and,  within  a  hair's 
breadth,  the  captive  of  his  captives ;  when,  at  length,  the 
unhoped-for  treaty  of  Passan  legalizes  Protestantism,  and 
secures  to  the  revived  witnesses  a  seat  in  the  symbolical 

From  the  disasters,  alike  as  from  the  triumphs,  of  these 
latter  scenes  Luther  was  removed  by  a  rapid  sickness  and 
premature  death,  in  the  year  1546.  Fatigue  and  anxiety 

PREFACE.  xxi 

had  impaired  the  native  soundness  and  vigour  of  his  bodily 
frame,  and  he  died  an  old  man,  at  the  age  of  sixty-three. 

The  storm  which  had  gathered  around  his  head  at 
Worms  was  repelled  in  its  onset  by  a  prudent  stratagem  of 
the  elector's,  which  he  had  communicated,  it  is  probable, 
in  secret,  to  the  emperor  himself.  Having  seized  his 
person,  by  a  mock  arrest,  whilst  returning  to  Wittem- 
berg,  he  took  and  hid  him  in  the  castle  of  Wartburgj 
where  he  fed  and  nourished  him  at  his  own  expense  for 
ten  months,  and  would  have  continued  to  do  so,  if  Luther 
had  allowed  him,  to  the  end  of  his  days.  In  this  hiding- 
place  which  he  called  his  Patmos,  comparing  himself  with 
St.  John  as  banished  to  that  island  by  Domitian,  he  saw 
many  visions  of  the  Almighty,  which  enlightened  his  future 
ministry.  He  betrayed  a  good  deal  of  impatience  under 
this  seclusion.  He  complained  that  his  kind  detainer 
fed  him  too  well ;  that  he  ate  and  drank  too  much,  that  he 
grew  stupid  and  sensual.  But  the  truth  seems  to  have 
been,  that  stir  and  bustle  and  a  great  to  do  were  his 
element.  He  did  not  like  fowling,  though  he  allegorized 
it,  so  well  as  reading  lectures  to  five  or  six  hundred  young 
men,  and  preaching  to  half  as  many  thousands.  Here, 
however,  the  Lord  nurtured  his  Moses,  and  made  him 
wiser  in  the  art  of  feeding  his  sheep  ;  and,  if  he  suffered 
him  to  be  dull  and  heavy,  he  gave  him  no  inclination  to 
be  idle.  The  Yonker,*  in  his  horseman's  suit,  wrote 
many  tracts  ;  improved  himself  in  the  knowledge  of  Greek 
and  Hebrew,  which  he  studied  very  diligently  with  an  eye 
to  his  projected  translation  of  the  Scriptures,  and  actually 
accomplished  his  German  version  of  the  New  Testament, 
so  as  to  publish  it  this  same  year.  These  were  not  the 
achievements  of  sloth  and  sensuality !  Of  his  original 
works  at  this  period,  his  answer  to  Latomus'vS  defence  of 

*  'During  his  residence  in  the  castle  of  Wartburg  he  suffered  his 
beard  and  hair  to  grow,  assumed  an  equestrian  sort  of  dress,  and  passed 
for  a  country  gentleman,  under  the  name  of  Yonker  George.' 


the  Louvain  divines  was  the  most  elaborate.  '  A  confuta 
tion,  says  Seckendorff,  replete  with  so  much  solid  learning 
and  sound  divinity,  that  it  was  impossible  to  reply  to  it 
without  being  guilty  of  obvious  cavilling  or  downright 
impiety. — If  the  author  of  it  had  never  published  any  thing 
else  in  his  whole  life,  he  "would,  on  account  of  this  single 
tract,  deserve  to  be  compared  with  the  greatest  divines 
which  ever  existed  in  the  church.  At  the  time  of  writing 
it,  he  was  furnished  with  no  other  book  but  the  Bible  ;  and 
yet  he  interprets  the  leading  passages  of  the  Prophets  and 
the  Apostles,  and  does  away  the  deceitful  glosses  of  sophis 
tical  commentators  with  so  much  exquisite  erudition  and 
ability,  that  the  genuine  meaning  of  the  inspired  writers 
cannot  but  be  clear  to  every  pious  and  attentive  reader.' 

He  dedicates  it  to  Justus  Jonas,  who  had  recently  been 
appointed  to  the  presidency  of  the  college  of  Wittemberg  ; 
desiring  him  to  accept  it  as  a  sort  of  congratulatory  pre 
sent,  expressing  a  strong  sense  of  the  divine  indignation 
as  now  poured  out  upon  the  visible  church,  and  hinting 
what  he  expected  from  the  new  president,  in  the  discharge 
of  his  office. — *  It  is  my  earnest  prayer,  that  you,  my 
brother,  who,  by  your  appointment  ought  to  teach  the 
pestilential  decretals  of  Antichrist,  may  be  enlightened  by 
the  Spirit  of  God  to  do  your  duty  ;  that  is,  UNTEACH  every 
thing  that  belongs  to  Popery.  For  though  we  are  com 
pelled  to  live  in  Babylon,  we  ought  to  shew  that  our  affec 
tions  are  fixed  on  our  own  country,  Jerusalem.  Be  strong 
and  of  good  comfort ;  and  fear  not  Baalpeor  ;  but  believe 
in  the  Lord  Jesus,  who  is  blessed  for  evermore.  Amen.' 

In  this  treatise,  he  vindicates  himself  from  the  charge  of 
insincerity  in  having  for  so  long  a  time  submitted  to  the 
Pope,  and  to  the  received  opinions  ;  Avhilst  he  declares  his 
grief  for  having  done  so,  his  thankfulness  to  the  Lord 
Jesus  Christ  for  that  insight  into  the  Scriptures,  which  he 
deemed  a  hundred  times  preferable  to  the  scholastic 
divinity  of  the  times,  and  his  now  full  conviction,  that  the 

PREFACE.  xxiii 

Pope  is  that  monster  of  Antichrist,  foretold  throughout  the 
sacred  writings.  He  expresses  himself  indifferent  to  the 
charge  of  wanting  moderation,  and  as  to  sedition,  it  was 
no  more  than  the  Jews  had  charged  Christ  with ;  the  main 
point  in  debate,  he  maintains,  is  (THE  NATURE  OF  SIN/ 
( If  in  the  passages  which  I  have  quoted  from  St.  Paul, 
says  he,  it  can  be  proved  that  the  Apostle  does  not  use  the 
word  SIN  in  its  true  and  proper  sense,  my  whole  argument 
falls  to  the  ground ;  but  if  this  cannot  be  proved,  then 
Latomus's  objections  are  without  foundation.  He  blames 
me  for  maintaining  that  no  human  action  can  endure  the 
severity  of  God's  judgment.  I  reply,  he  ought  to  shudder 
in  undertaking  to  defend  the  opposite  sentiment.  Sup 
pose,  for  a  moment,  that  any  man  could  say,  he  has  indeed 
fulfilled  the  precept  of  God  in  some  one  good  work.  Then 
such  a  man  might  fairly  address  the  Almighty  to  this 
effect :  "  Behold,  O  Lord,  by  the  help  of  thy  grace,  I  have 
done  this  good  work.  There  is  in  it  no  sin  ;  no  defect ; 
it  needs  not  thy  pardoning  mercy :  which,  therefore,  in 
this  instance  I  do  not  ask.  I  desire  thou  wouldest  judge 
this  action  strictly  and  impartially.  I  feel  assured,  that, 
as  thou  art  just  and  faithful,  thou  canst  not  condemn  it ; 
and  therefore  I  glory  in  it  before  thee.  Our  Saviour's 
prayer  teaches  me  to  implore  the  forgiveness  of  my  tres 
passes  ;  but  in  regard  to  this  work,  mercy  is  not  necessary 
for  the  remission  of  sin,  but  rather  justice  for  the  reward 
of  merit.'*  To  such  indecent,  unchristian  conclusions  are 
we  naturally  led  by  the  pride  of  the  scholastic  system ! 
This  doctrine  of  the  sinless  perfection  of  human  works  * 
finds  no  support  in  Scripture  :  it  rests  entirely  on  a  few 
expressions  of  the  Fathers,  who  are  yet  by  no  means 
agreed  among  themselves,  and  if  they  were  agreed,  still 
their  authority  is  only  human.  We  are  directed  to  prove 

*  It  is  the  works  of  the  godly  that  are  the  subject  of  inquiry ;  the 
charge  against  which  Luther  here  defends  himself  is,  his  having  main 
tained  that  the  very  best  acts  of  the  best  men  have  the  nature  of  sin. 

xxiv  PREFACE. 

ALL  THINGS  and  to  hold  fast  that  which  is  good.  ALL 
doctrines  then  are  to  be  proved  by  the  sacred  Scriptures. 
There  is  no  exception  here  in  favour  of  Augustine,  of  Jerome, 
of  Origen,  nor  even  of  an  antichristian  Pope. — Augustine, 
however,  is  entirely  on  my  side  of  the  question. .  . . 
Such  are  my  reasons  for  choosing  to  call  that  SIN  to 
which  you  apply  the  softer  terms  of  defect  and  imper 
fection.  But  farther,  I  may  well  interrogate  all  those,  who 
use  the  language  of  Latomus,  whether  they  do  not  resemble 
the  Stoics  in  their  abstract  definition  of  a  wise  man,  or 
Quintilian  in  his  definition  of  a  perfect  orator  j  that  is, 
whether  they  do  not  speak  of  an  imaginary  character,  such 
as  never  was,  nor  ever  will  be.  I  challenge  them  to  pro 
duce  a  man,  who  will  dare  to  speak  of  his  own  work,  and 
say  it  is  without  sin. — Your  way  of  speaking  leads  to  most 
pernicious  views  of  the  nature  of  sin.  You  attribute  to 
mere  human  powers  that  which  is  to  be  ascribed  to  divine 
grace  alone.  You  make  men  presumptuous  and  secure  in 
their  vices.  You  depreciate  the  knowledge  of  the  mystery 
of  Christ,  and,  by  consequence,  the  spirit  of  thankfulness 
and  love  to  God.  There  is  a  prodigious  effusion  of  grace 
expended  in  the  conversion  of  sinners  :  you  lose  sight  of 
this  ;  you  make  nature  innocent,  and  so  darken  or  pervert 
the  Scripture,  that  the  sense  of  it  is  almost  lost  in  the 
Christian  world.' — I  make  no  apology  for  these  instructive 
extracts.  '  The  matter  of  this  controversy  must  always  be 
looked  on  as  of  the  last  importance,  if  any  thing  is  to  be 
called  important,  in  which  the  glory  of  God,  the  necessity 
of  the  grace  of  Jesus  Christ,  the  exercises  of  real  humility, 
and  the  comfort  of  afflicted  consciences  are  eminently 

f  Luther  concludes  his  book  with  observing,  that  he  is 
accused  of  treating  Thomas  Aquinas,  Alexander,  and 
others,  in  an  injurious  and  ungrateful  manner.  He  defends 
himself  by  saying,  those  authors  had  done  much  harm  to 
his  own  mind  j  and  he  advises  young  students  of  divinity 

PREFACE.  xxv 

to  avoid  the  scholastic  theology  and  philosophy  as  the  ruin 
of  their  souls.  He  expresses  great  doubts  whether  Thomas 
Aquinas  was  even  a  good  man  :  he  has  a  better  opinion  of 
Bonaventura.  Thomas  Aquinas,  says  he,  held  many  here 
tical  opinions,  and  is  the  grand  cause  of  the  prevalence  of 
the  doctrines  of  Aristotle,  that  destroyer  of  sound  doctrine. 
What  is  it  to  me,  if  the  Bishop  of  Rome  has  canonized  him 
in  his  bulls  ?' 

Valuable,  however,  as  this  work  is,  it  will  admit  of  no 
comparison  with  the  truly  herculean  and  apostolic  labour, 
in  which  he  was  interrupted  by  performing  it.  c  You  can 
scarcely  believe,  says  he,  with  how  much  reluctance  it  is, 
that  I  have  allowed  my  attention  to  be  diverted  from  the 
quiet  study  of  the  Scriptures  in  this  Patmos,  by  reading 
the  sophistical  quibbles  of  Latomus.'  And  again;  '  I  really 
grudge  the  time  spent  in  reading  and  answering  this  worth 
less  publication — particularly  as  I  was  EMPLOYED  IN  TRANS 
LATING  the  Epistles  and  Gospels  into  our  own  language/ 

We  who  sit  at  ease,  and,  when  wre  have  leisure  or  inclin 
ation  to  read  a  chapter  in  the  Bible,  have  nothing  to  do  but 
take  down  our  Bible  and  open  it  where  we  please,  are  apt 
to  forget  the  labour  which  it  cost  to  furnish  us  with  that  Bible 
in  our  native  language,  and  the  perils  by  which  we  were  re 
deemed  into  the  liberty  of  reading  it  with  our  own  eyes,  and 
handling  it  with  our  own  hands.  We  especially,  who  have 
fallen  upon  times,  in  which,  through  the  manifest  counsel 
and  act  of  God,  out  of  the  supposed  three  hundred  lan 
guages  and  dialects  of  the  earth,  versions  of  the  Scriptures 
are  now  circulating  throughout  the  whole  of  the  known 
world  in  more  than  one  hundred  and  forty,  and  to  whom  it 
is  a  rare  thing  to  meet  with  an  individual  who  has  it  even 
in  his  heart,  much  less  upon  his  tongue,  to  put  any  limits 
to  the  circulation  of  the  sacred  volume,  are  ill  prepared,  by 
our  own  feelings  and  experience,  to  estimate  the  boon  of  a 
Bible  now  for  the  first  time  edited  in  the  vernacular 
tongue.  But  Luther  had  not  only  to  fight  for  the  right  to 

xxvl  PREFACE. 

read,  but  to  labour  that  they  might  have  whereupon  to 
exercise  that  right.  '  Luther  easily  foresaw  the  important 
consequences  which  must  flow  from  a  fair  translation  of 
the  Bible  in  the  German  language.  Nothing  would  so 
effectually  shake  the  pillars  of  ecclesiastical  despotism ; 
nothing  was  so  likely  to  spread  the  knowledge  of  pure 
Christian  doctrine.  Accordingly  he  rejoiced  in  the  design  of 
expediting  the  work,  whilst  his  adversaries  deprecated  the 
execution  of  it,  more  than  any  heresy  of  which  the  greatest 
enemy  of  the  church  could  be  guilty/  Accordingly,  he 
had  begun,  and  \vas  preparing  himself  by  the  more  accu 
rate  study  of  the  original  languages  for  the  completion  of 
his  work,  when  drawn  off  by  Latomus  :  an  enterprise, 
which  required  the  silence  and  seclusion  of  his  Patmos 
for  its  origination  and  commencement,  but  which  could 
not  be  satisfactorily  completed,  without  larger  resources 
than  he  possessed  there.  f  I  find,  says  he,  I  have  under 
taken  a  work  which  is  above  my  strength.  I  shall  not 
touch  the  Old  Testament  till  I  can  have  the  assistance  of 
yourself  and  my  other  friends  at  Wittemberg.  If  it  were 
possible  that  I  could  be  with  you,  and  remain  undiscovered 
in  a  snug  chamber,  I  would  come ;  and  there,  with  your 
help,  would  translate  the  whole  from  the  beginning,  that 
at  length  there  might  be  a  version  of  the  Bible  fit  for 
Christians  to  read.  This  would  be  a  great  work,  of  im 
mense  consequence  to  the  public,  and  worthy  of  all  our 

This  arduous  task  was  at  length  accomplished  :  the  New 
Testament,  as  I  have  already  mentioned,  being  published 
in  1522;  the  Old  Testament  afterwards,  in  parts,  till 
completed  in  1530.  (  In  this  work  he  was  much  assisted 
by  the  labour  and  advice  of  several  of  his  friends,  parti 
cularly  Jonas  and  Melancthon.  The  whole  performance 
itself  was  a  monument  of  that  astonishing  industry  which 
marked  the  character  of  this  reformer.  The  effects  of  this 
labour  were  soon  felt  in  Germany ;  immense  numbers  now 

PREFACE.  xxvii 

read  in  their  own  language  the  precious  word  of  God,  and 
saw  with  their  own  eyes  the  just  foundations  of  the 
Lutheran  doctrine.' — What  an  Ithuriel's  spear  did  the 
Lord  thus  enable  him  to  put  into  the  hands  of  the  mass  of 
the  people  !  No  wonder  that  the  Papists  should  cry  out 
and  burn. — What,  in  fact,  has  upheld  the  Popedom  but 
ignorance  of  THE  BOOK  ?  and  what  is  ultimately  to  destroy 
it,  according  to  Luther's  intelligent  and  enlightened  antici 
pation  of  that  event,  but  the  knowledge  of  the  Book  f 
f  The  kingdom  of  Antichrist,  according  to  the  Prophet 
Daniel's  prediction,  must  be  broken  WITHOUT  HAND  ;  that 
is,  the  Scriptures  will  be  understood  by  and  by,  and  every 
one  will  speak  and  preach  against  the  papal  tyranny  from 
the  word  of  God ;  until  THIS  MAN  OF  SIN  is  deserted  by  all 
his  adherents,  and  dies  of  himself.  This  is  the  true  Christian 
way  of  destroying  him  ;  and  to  promote  this  end,  we  ought 
to  exert  every  nerve,  encounter  every  danger,  and  undergo 
every  loss  and  inconvenience.' — The  wonder  is,  that,  in 
our  days,  individuals  shall  I  say  ?  numbers  rather,  compre 
hended  in  that  communion,  are  zealous  for  the  dissemination 
of  the  Scriptures  in  the  spoken  language  of  their  country; 
whilst  one  of  these,  towering  high  above  the  rest,  has  been 
the  favoured  instrument  of  distributing  more  than  three  hun 
dred  thousand  copies  of  a  German  version  of  his  own, 
besides  many  thousands  of  this  very  version  of  Luther's.* 

'  To  decide  on  the  merits  of  Luther's  translation  would 
require  not  only  an  exact  knowledge  of  the  Hebrew  and 
Greek,  but  also  of  the  German  language  ;  certainly  it  was 
elegant  and  perspicuous,  and  beyond  comparison  prefer 
able  to  any  scriptural  publication  which  had  before  been 
known  to  the  populace.  It  is  probable  that  this  work  had 

*  I  need  scarcely  mention  the  name  of  Leander  Van  Ess.  But  is 
there  no  opposition  to  this  work,  amongst  the  Roman  Catholics  ?  Are 
there  not  divisions  and  fiercest  persecutions  amongst  them  on  this  very 
ground?  And  where,  and  what,  are  the  Bible  Societies  of  Spain,  Por 
tugal,  Bavaria  and  the  Italian  States  ? 

xxviii  PREFACE. 

many  defects ;  but  that  it  was  in  the  main  faithful  and 
sound,  may  be  fairly  presumed  from  the  solid  understand 
ing,  biblical  learning  and  multifarious  knowledge  of  the 
author  and  his  coadjutors.  A  more  acceptable  present 
could  scarcely  have  been  conferred  on  men,  who  were 
emerging  out  of  darkness  ;  and  the  example  being  followed 
soon  after  by  reformers  in  other  nations,  the  real  know 
ledge  of  Scripture,  if  we  take  into  account  the  effects  of 
the  art  of  printing,  was  facilitated  to  a  surprising  degree.' 

The  papistical  plagiarist  Emser  endeavoured  first  to 
traduce,  and  afterwards  to  rival  and  supersede  him :  but 
his  correct  translation  was,  in  fact,  little  more  than  a 
transcript  of  Luther's  (he  was  himself  notoriously  ignorant 
of  the  German  language),  some  alterations  in  favour  of  the 
Romish  tenets  excepted ;  so  that  Luther  was  read  under 
Emser's  name,  and  the  Lord  gave  him  grace  to  say  with 
his  heart,  "  Notwithstanding,  whether  in  pretence  or  in 
truth,  Christ  is  preached,  and  I  therein  do  rejoice,  yea, 
and  will  rejoice." 

It  was  not  without  manifesting,  from  time  to  time,  a 
considerable  degree  of  impatience,  that  Luther  was  de 
tained  even  for  ten  months  in  his  solitude :  action  was  his 
element,  and  it  was  painful  to  him  to  sit  still.  <  For  the 
glory  of  the  word  of  God,  and  for  the  mutual  confirmation 
of  myself  and  others,  I  would  much  rather  burn  on  the  live 
coals,  than  live  here  alone,  half  alive  and  useless.  If  I 
perish,  it  is  God's  will ;  neither  will  the  Gospel  suffer  in 
any  degree.  I  hope  you  will  succeed  me,  as  Elisha  did 
Elijah  !' — I  could  wish  he  had  not  written  this  last  sentence 
to  his  friend  Melancthon. — However,  after  ten  months, 
the  state  of  his  beloved  Wittemberg  concurred  with  his  own 
self-centered  likes  and  dislikes,  to  render  it  manifestly 
desirable  for  the  church's  welfare,  and  so,  by  just  inference, 
the  clear  will  of  God,  that  he  should  hazard  his  life  and 
safety  by  leaving  his  retreat  and  returning  to  his  public  sta 
tion  in  the  then  capital  of  infant  Protestantism.  Melancthon 


wanted  spirits  and  vigour ;  the  elector  wanted  boldness  and 
decision ;  Carolstadt  was  become  tumultuous ;  the  flock 
was  in  the  state  of  sheep  without  a  shepherd ;  the  enemy 
was  crying,  "  There,  There."  Having  already  made  one 
short  visit  by  stealth,  and  finding  that  an  occasional  inter 
position  would  no  longer  meet  the  difficulty,  he  deter 
mined  to  risk  all,  and  knowing  the  elector  as  he  did,  to 
act  first,  and  then  apologi/.e.  Accordingly,  he  left  Wart- 
burg,  and  wrote  his  noble  letter  to  him  from  Borna,  on  his 
way,  in  which  he  freely  opened  his  motives  and  expect 
ations,  delivering  Frederic  from  all  responsibility  for  his 
safety,  and  testifying  his  entire  and  alone  confidence  in  the 
divine  protection.  Having  done  so,  he  pursued  his  journey 
with  no  real  or  even  pretended  safeguard,  but  Him  who 
is  invisible. — ( I  write  these  things  that  your  highness  may 
know,  I  consider  myself  in  returning  to  Wittemberg  to  be 
under  a  far  more  powerful  protection  than  any  which  the 
elector  of  Saxony  can  afford  me.  To  be  plain,  I  do  not 
wish  to  be  protected  by  your  highness.  Tt  never  entered 
my  mind  to  request  your  defence  of  my  person.  Nay,  it 
is  my  decided  judgment,  that,  on  the  contrary,  your  high 
ness  will  rather  receive  support  and  protection  from  the 
prayers  of  Luther  and  the  good  cause  in  which  he  is  em 
barked.  It  is  a  cause  which  does  not  call  for  the  help  of 
the  sword.  God  himself  will  take  care  of  it  without  human 
aid.  I  positively  declare,  that  if  I  knew  your  highness 
intended  to  defend  me  by  force,  I  would  not  now  return  to 
Wittemberg.  This  is  a  case  where  God  alone  should 
direct;  and  men  should  stand  still,  and  wait  the  event 
without  anxiety ;  and  that  man  will  be  found  to  defend 
both  himself  and  others  the  most  bravely,  who  has  the 
firmest  confidence  in  God.  Your  highness  has  but  a  very 
feeble  reliance  on  God ;  and  for  that  reason  I  cannot  think 
of  resting  my  defence  and  hopes  of  deliverance  on  you.' 
If  I  were  to  put  my  finger  on  the  most  splendid  moment 
of  Luther's  life,  I  should  fix  it  at  Borna.  All  the  mag- 

xxx  PREFACE. 

nanimity,  courage  and  perseverance  which  he  displayed  after 
wards,  were  but  the  acting  of  that  Spirit  which  he  had  then 
evidently  received  :  the  fruit  and  effect  of  the  Lord's  most 
full  and  most  clear  manifestation  of  Himself,  as  that  which 
he  is,  to  his  soul.  This  enabled  him  to  cast  his  die  in 
God.  He  cast  it  at  Wartburg,  he  declared  it  at  Borna. — 
His  return  to  Wittemberg  was  healing,  confidence  and 
peace  to  his  scattered,  agitated  and  mistrustful  flock. 

Luther's  valuable  life  was  preserved  to  the  church,  for 
twenty-four  years,  after  his  return  to  Wittemberg.  In 
these,  he  had  first  to  build,  which  he  found  more  difficult 
than  to  destroy ;  then,  to  protect,  extend,  uphold  and  per 
petuate  his  infant  establishment.*  He  had  to  provide 
against  the  rapacity  of  the  secular  arm,  without  making 
ecclesiastics  rich ;  to  obtain  learned  instructors  of  the 
people,  without  feeding  hives  of  drones ;  to  make  the 
untaught  teachers ;  to  abolish  pomp  without  violating 
decency.  Often  he  was  at  a  loss  what  to  advise ;  and 
often  he  was  obliged  to  adopt  what  was  only  second  best 
in  his  own  eyes.  The  press  was  the  great  weapon  of  his 
warfare,  and  of  his  culture  ;  his  publications  extended  to 
a  vast  variety  of  subjects,  and  it  may  be  truly  said,  he  had 
thought  and  knowledge,  matter  and  weight  for  all.  We 
are  to  remember,  that  he  was  all  this  while  like  a  vessel 
living  in  a  storm;  not  only  an  excommunicated  man  (he 
had  excommunicated  in  return),  but  an  outlaw,  under  the 
ban  of  the  empire  ;  whom  any  body  that  dared  might  have 
seized  and  delivered  up  to  justice  : — is  not  this  the  man 
whom  the  Lord  holdeth  with  His  right  hand,  keepeth  as 
the  apple  of  His  eye,  and  spreadeth  a  table  for  in  the 
midst  of  his  enemies  ? 

Nor  were  his  professed  enemies  his  worst :  the  slow 
caution  of  the  elector,  the  timidity  of  his  coadjutors,  the 

*  It  was  an  acknowledged  principle  with  him,  as  with  our  reformers, 
to  alter  as  little  as  possible.  He  was  more  of  a  Cranmer  than  a 

PREFACE.  xxxi 

madness  of  the  people — fleshly  heat  assuming  the  name 
and  garb  of  religious  fervour — lust  of  change — every  body 
must  be  somebody — envy,  debate,  clamour,  and  his  own 
native  obstinacy,  were  more  to  him  than  the  Eckiuses  and 
the  Aleanders,  the  Conclave  and  the  Emperor  ! 

The  character  of  Luther  is  sufficiently  obvious  from  this 
mere  hint  at  his  history.  Magnanimous,  capacious,  absti 
nent,  studious,  disinterested,  intrepid,  wise,  f  He  feared 
God,  he  feared  none  else.'  Early  in  life  he  had  been  made 
to  drink  deep  into  the  knowledge  of  his  own  wickedness, 
accountableness,  lostness  and  impotency.  Melancthon  tells 
of  him,  that,  while  he  was  deeply  reflecting  on  the  astonish 
ing  instances  of  the  divine  vengeance,  so  great  alarm  would 
suddenly  affect  his  whole  frame,  as  almost  to  frighten  him  to 
death.  I  was  once  present,  when,  through  intense  exertion 
of  mind  in  the  course  of  an  argument  respecting  some 
point  of  doctrine,  he  was  so  terrified  as  to  retire  to  a 
neighbour's  chamber,  place  himself  on  the  bed,  and  pray 
aloud,  frequently  repeating  these  words,  "  He  hath  con 
cluded  all  under  sin,  that  he  might  have  mercy  upon  all." 
This  sensibility  of  conscience  prepared  him  for  a  trembling 
reception  of  the  divine  word.  We  have  seen  how  the  Lord 
threw  it  in  his  way.  For  a  considerable  time  it  spake 
only  terrors  to  him.  "  THEREIN  is  the  righteousness  of 
God  revealed,"  stirred  him  up  to  blasphemy.  At  length 
the  Lord  had  pity  on  him,  and  opened  his  eyes,  and 
shewed  him  that  the  righteousness  of  God  there  spoken  of 
is  not  His  own  essential  righteousness,  which  renders  Him 
the  hater  and  punisher  of  iniquity,  but  a  substance  which 
He  has  provided  to  invest  sinners  withal ;  and  thus,  this 
very  expression  which  had  proved  a  stumbling-block  to 
him  became  his  entrance  into  Paradise.  In  process  of 
time,  the  Lord  revealed  the  mystery  of  this  righteousness 
somewhat  more  distinctly  to  him.  He  shewed  him  that 
the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  was  in  his  own  person  this  righte 
ousness  ;  and  that  to  enter  into  Him,  and  to  put  Him  on, 

xxxii  PREFACE. 

by  faith,  was  to  be  righteous,  before  God ;  that  the  merit 
of  Christ  was  complete  for  justification  ;  that  nothing  was 
to  be  added,  or  could  be  added  to  it,  by  a  sinner ;  and  that 
it  was  received  by  faith  only.  Thus  far  the  Lord  gave 
him  clearness  of  sight,  though  not  fulness ;  and  that 
speedily  :  after,  and  beyond  this,  He  left  him  to  blunder  ; 
aye,  and  to  the  end  of  his  days. — Now  therefore,  "  it 
having  pleased  God,  who  had  separated  him  from 
his  mother's  womb,  and  called  him  by  his  grace,  to 
reveal  his  Son  in  him,  straightway  he  conferred  not  with 
flesh  and  blood ;"  "he  could  not  but  speak  the  things 
which  he  had  heard  and  seen;"  "  he  was  ready  not  to  be 
bound  only,  but  also  to  die  at  Jerusalem  for  the  name  of 
the  Lord  Jesus."* 

God  gave  three  special  endowments  to  this  chosen  wit 
ness  ;  which  are  the  characteristics  of  his  testimony : 
great  knowledge  of  Scripture,  great  talent  for  abstruse 
and  elaborate  argumentation,  and  a  singular  felicity  in 
addressing  the  common  people. f  In  illustration  of  the 
first  of  these,  his  whole  works  may  be  appealed  to,  if  his 

*  If  his  faults  be  required,  he  had,  in  him,  every  fault  under  heaven. 
In  him,  that  is,  in  his  flesh,  dwelt  no  good  thing;  that  is,  dwelt  every 
bad  thing.  His  WITHIN  was  like  ours.  "  For  from  within,  out  of  the 
heart,  &c.  &c."  But  if,  as  should  rather  he,  what  came  out  of  him 
chiefly,  that  is  evil,  be  inquired,  his  vices,  as  is  the  nature  of  evil,  were 
his  virtues  run  mad  :  he  was  obstinate,  fierce,  contemptuous,  vain. — 
He  was  not  unkind,  as  some  would  represent  him  ;  he  had  "  bowels  of 
mercies  :"  he  was  not  rash ;  no  man  more  deliberately  weighed  his 
words  and  deeds:  he  was  not  implacable;  witness  his  attempts  to  con 
ciliate  that  greatest  of  all  bears,  the  Duke  George,  our  tiger  Henry, 
Carblstadt,  Erasmus,  and  even  the  Pope. 

•f*  This  does  not  imply  that  he  always  interpreted  Scripture  lightly,  or 
saw  all  the  truth  ;  any  more  than  his  skill  in  arguing  implies  that  he 
always  arrived  at  right  conclusions,  or  proceeded  to  them  by  just 
steps — His  excellency  in  addressing  the  common  people,  let  it  lie 
observed,  did  not  consist  in  his  having  one  doctrine,  or  one  reason,  for 
them,  and  another  for  the  learned  ;  he  had  one  Gospel  for  all,  and  told 
it  all  out  to  all  ;  but  he  had  powers  of  language — facility  of  illustration 
and  simplicity  of  expression — which  made  him  intelligible  and  affecting 
to  the  most  illiterate. 


translation  of  the  Bible  be  not  proof  enough  :  for  the 
second;  his  disputations  with  Eckius,  Latomus  and  Eras 
mus — specially  the  treatise  which  follows  :  for  the  last,  all 
his  numerous  tracts  and  sermons,  particularly  his  address 
to  the  common  people  on  the  breaking  out  of  the  rustic 
war. — His  commentary  on  the  Galatians  furnishes  speci 
mens  of  the  three. 

Such  was  the  man,  whom  the  Lord  raised  up,  called 
forth  and  employed,  as  the  most  prominent,  active  and 
efficacious  of  his  blessed  workfellows,  in  accomplishing 
the  Reformation  !  But  how  strange  is  it,  that  man  will 
look  but  at  half  of  God,  and  at  the  surface  only  of  that  half, 
when  His  whole  self  stands  revealed ;  and  when  it  is  the 
very  aim  and  contrivance  of  his  operation,  to  effect  that 
complete  display  !  The  Reformation  was  God's  act — an 
act,  inferior  only  to  those  of  Calvary  and  of  the  Red  Sea, 
for  manifesting  his  mighty  hand,  and  his  outstretched  arm — 
which  he  accomplished  by  doing  all  in  all  that  Luther  did, 
and  all  in  all  that  Luther's  enemies  did ;  by  working  in 
Charles  as  well  as  in  the  Elector ;  in  Leo  as  well  as 
Luther;  in  Cajetan,  Campeggio,  Prierias,  Hogostratus, 
and  the  whole  train  of  yelping  curs  and  growling  mastiffs, 
which  were  for  baiting  and  burning  the  decriers  of  Baby 
lon,  as  in  Jonas,  Pomeranus  and  Melancthon.  Indeed,  if 
we  would  estimate  this  transaction  aright,  as  a  displayer  ' 
of  God,  we  must  not  only  inspect  the  evil  workers,  visible  ' 
and  invisible,  as  well  as  the  good,  but  must  mark  the  steps 
by  which  He  prepared  for  his  march,  and  the  combinations 
with  which  He  conducted  it ;  we  must  see  Constantinople 
captured  by  the  infidel,  and  the  learned  of  the  East  shed 
abroad  throughout  Christendom ;  we  must  see  the  barba 
rian  imbibing  a  taste  for  letters,  and  the  art  of  printing 
facilitating  the  means  of  acquiring  them;  we  must  see 
activity  infused  into  many  and  various  agents,  and  that 
activity  excited  by  various  and  conflicting  interests ;  we 
must  see  rival  princes,  and  vassals  hitherto  bowed  down 


xxxiv  PREFACE. 

to  the  earth,  now  beginning  to  ask  a  reason  of  their  govern 
ors;  we  must  see  a  domineering  Charles,  a  chivalrous 
Francis,  a  lustful  and  rapacious  Henry,  a  cannonading 
Solyman,  a  dissipated  Leo,  a  calculating  Adrian,  a  hesi 
tative  Clement — German  freedom,  Italian  obsequiousness, 
Castilian  independence,  Flemish  frivolity,  Gallic  loyalty, 
Genoa's  fleet  and  Switzerland's  mercenaries,  Luther's 
firmness,  Frederic's  coldness,  Melancthon's  dejectedness, 
and  Carolstadt's  precipitancy — made,  stirred  and  blended 
by  Him,  as  a  sort  of  moral  chaos,  out  of  which,  in  the  ful 
ness  of  his  own  time,  He  commandeth  knowledge,  liberty 
and  peace  to  spring  forth  upon  his  captives  in  Babylon. 

Luther  describes  himself,  we  have  seen,  as  a  rough 
controversialist:  controversy  was  his  element;  from  his 
first  start  into  public  notice,  his  life  was  spent  in  it. — I 
hope  my  reader  has  learned  not  to  despise,  or  even  to 
dread  controversy.  It  has  been,  from  the  beginning,  the 
Lord's  choice  weapon  for  the  manifestation  of  his  truth ; 
just  as  evil  has  been  his  own  great  developer.  What  are 
Paul's  and  John's  Epistles  but  controversial  writings  ? 
What  was  the  Lord's  whole  life  and  ministry  but  a  con 
troversy  with  the  Jews  ?  Luther  well  knew  its  uses,  and 
had  tasted  its  peaceable  fruits  :  it  stirs  up  inquiry ;  it  stops 
the  mouth  of  the  gainsayers;  it  roots  and  grounds  the 
believers.  Still,  there  were  three  out  of  his  many,  from 
which  he  would  gladly  have  been  spared;  they  were 
maintained  against  quondam  friends.  In  the  first  of  these 
he  was  all  in  the  right,  but  not  without  question ;  in  the 
second,  all  in  the  wrong, 'without  question ;  in  the  third,  all 
in  the  right,  without  question  :  without  question,  I  mean, 
not  as  respects  any  public  trial  which  has  been  held,  and 
judgment  given,  but  before  the  tribunal  of  right  reason. 

f  Andreas  Bodenstenius  Carolstadt,  unheard)  uncon- 
victed,  banished  by  Martin  Luther.' — What  !  Luther 
become  a  persecutor  ?  he  who  should  have  been  a  martyr 
himself,  make  martyrs  of  others  ?  Not  so ;  but  charged 

PREFACE.  xxxv 

with  doing  so,  and  appearances  against  him  ! — Honest 
Carolstadt — there  is  some  question  whether  he  truly 
deserves  this  name — was  a  turbulent  man.  He  had  no 
hearty  relish  for  Luther's  '  broken  WITHOUT  HANDS  ;' 
though  a  learned  man,  and  still  a  professor  at  Wittem- 
berg,  he  gave  out  that  he  despised  learning,  and,  having 
placed  himself  at  the  head  of  a  few  raw  and  hot-brained 
recruits,  raved  at  the  papal  abuses  which  still  remained 
amongst  them,  and  proceeded  to  remove  them  WITH 
HANDS,  by  breaking  images  and  throwing  down  altars. 
This  disorderly  spirit  gave  the  first  impulse  to  Luther's 
return.  (  The  account  of  what  had  passed  at  Wittemberg, 
he  said,  had  almost  reduced  him  to  a  state  of  despair. 
Every  thing  he  had  as  yet  suffered  was  comparatively 
mere  jest  and  boys'  play.  He  could  not  enough  lament, 
or  express  his  disapprobation  of  those  tumultuous  pro 
ceedings  ;  the  Gospel  was  in  imminent  danger  of  being 
disgraced,  from  this  cause.'  Carolstadt  fled  before  him  ; 
became  a  factious  preacher  at  Orlamund ;  was  banished  by 
the  elector;  restored  at  length  through  the  intercession  of 
Luther ;  reconciled  to  him,  but  without  much  cordiality ; 
and  at  length  retired  into  Switzerland,  where  he  exercised 
his  pastoral  office  in  a  communion  more  congenial  with 
his  own  sentiments,  and  died  in  1531.  Such  is  the  short 
of  Carolstadt ;  one  of  Luther's  earliest  defenders,  .who 
turned  to  be  his  rival  and  his  enemy,  and  with  whom  he 
waged  a  sort  of  fratricidal  war,  for  some  years  after  his 
return  from  Wartburg,  in  conferences,  sermons  and 
treatises  :  of  the  last  of  these,  his  f  Address  to  the  Celes 
tial  Prophets  and  Carolstadt'  is  the  principal.  Of  his 
banishment  it  is  unquestionable  that  Luther  was  not  the 
author,  though  he  thoroughly  approved  it ;  nay,  on  his 
submitting  himself,  he  took  great  pains  to  get  him  restored : 
he  could  not  succeed  with  Frederic,  he  did  with  John. 
Still  I  have  thought  him  repulsive,  arbitrary,  and  ungene 
rously  sarcastic  hi  his  resistance  to  this  Carolstadt;  even  as 


xxxvi  PREFACE. 

I  have  thought  him  unwarrantably  contemptuous  and 
exclusive  in  his  comments  and  conflicts  with  the  Munzer- 
ites,  and  somewhat  too  confident  in  shifting  off  all  influence 
of  his  doctrine  from  the  rustic  war.  Hence  my  expression, 
f  not  without  question.'  But,  on  a  closer  review,  I  find 
clear  evidence  that  Carolstadt  really  was  what  Luther 
charged  him  with  being — whimsical,  extravagant,  false  and 
unsettled  in  doctrine ;  a  preacher  and  a  practiser  of  sedi 
tion — that  he  had  moreover  united  himself  to  Munzer  and 
his  associates,  and  had  thereby  obtained  a  niche  amongst 
the  Celestial  Prophets.  I  find  clear  evidence  that  Stubner, 
Stork,  Cellery,  Munzer  and  the  rest  were  a  nest  of  design 
ing  hypocrites ;  raging  and  railing,  and  making  preten 
sions  to  divine  favour,  which  they  neither  defined,  nor 
defended. — His  test  of  false  prophecy  and  false  profession, 
too,  let  it  be  remarked,  is  sound,  efficacious  and  prac 
ticable  ;  though  perhaps  founded  (I  refer  to  his  test  of 
conversion)  rather  too  positively  and  exclusively  upon  his 
own  personal  experience.  Again ;  I  find  Luther's  doctrine 
so  clear  in  marking  the  line  of  civil  subordination  that  it 
was  impossible  for  the  peasants,  or  those  who  made  them 
their  stalkinghorse,  to  urge  that  Luther  had  taught  them 
rebellion.  Nor  was  it  less  than  essential  to  sound  doc 
trine,  that  he  should  disclaim,  and  express  his  abhorrence 
of  their  error. — With  the  exception  of  that  part  of  the  con 
troversy  therefore,  which  respected  his  Sacramentarian 
error,  Luther  had  right  on  his  side  :  and  on  that  subject, 
Carolstadt,  though  right  in  his  conclusion  was  so  defective 
in  his  reasoning,  so  fickle,  so  versatile,  and  so  disingenuous, 
that  he  defeated  his  own  victory. 

In  the  second  of  these  controversies,  which,  although 
broached  by  Carolstadt,  soon  fell  into  abler  hands,  and 
was  at  length  settled  by  abler  heads  than  his,*  Luther 

*  Zuingle  and  CEcolampadius,  the  former  at  Zurich,  and  the  latter 
at  Basil,  were  the  great  defenders  of  the  faith,  in  this  cause  ;  who, 
notwithstanding  the  authority,  ponderosity,  calumniousness,  and  inflexi- 

PREFACE.  xxxvii 

was  lamentably  wrong ;  wrong  in  his  doctrine,  and  wrong 
in  the  spirit  with  which  he  defended  it : — an  affecting 
monument  of  what  God-enlightened  man  is;  who  can 
literally  and  strictly  see  no  farther  than  God  gives  him 
eyes  to  see  withal,  and  for  whose  good  it  is  not,  and 
therefore  for  God's  glory  in  whom  it  is  not,  that  he  should 
see  every  thing  as  it  really  is,  but  should  in  some  par 
ticulars  be  left  to  shew,  to  remember  and  to  feel,  "  the 
rock  whence  he  was  hewn,  and  the  hole  of  the  pit  whence 
he  was  digged."  Is  there  any  exception  to  this  remark 
amongst  human  teachers  and  writers  ?  Can  we  mention 
one,  on  whose  writings  this  mark  has  not  been  impressed, 
so  as  to  make  it  legible  that  we  are  reading  a  book  of 
man's,  not  of  God's  ? 

Luther  held,  that  '  the  real  substance  of  the  Lord's 
body  and  blood  was  in  the  bread  and  wine  of  the  Eucha 
rist,  together  with  that  previous  substance  which  was 
bread  and  wine  only  :'  a  tenet,  involving  all  the  absurdity 
of  popish  transubstantiation,  together  with  the  additional 
one,  that  the  same  substance  is  at  the  same  instant  of  two 
dissimilar  kinds. 

bility  of  Luther,  manifested  to  the  uttermost  in  opposing  them,  were 
enabled  to  "  bring  forth  judgment  unto  truth."  Zuingle's  great  work 
is  a  commentary  on  true  and  false  religion,  published  in  1525,  to  which 
he  added  an  appendix  on  the  Eucharist.  OEcolampadius's  principal 
performance  is  a  treatise  '  On  the  genuine  meaning  of  our  Lord's  words, 
'  This  is  my  "body/  published  about  the  same  time  :  of  which  Erasmus, 
in  his  light  and  profane  way,  said,  '  it  might  deceive  the  very  elect ;' 
and,  being  called,  as  one  of  the  public  censors,  to  review  it,  declared  to 
their  high  mightinesses,  the  senate  of  Basil,  that  it  was,  in  his  opinion, 
a  learned,  eloquent  and  elaborate  performance — he  should  be  disposed 
to  add  '  pious,'  if  any  thing  could  be  pious  which  opposes  the  JUDG 
MENT  AND  CONSENT  OF  THE  CHURCH.  Zuingle  testified  his  sense  of 
the  importance  of  the  question  by  remarking  in  his  letter  to  Pomeranus, 
'  I  do  not  think  Antichrist  can  be  completely  subdued,  unless  this  error 
of  consubstantiation  be  rooted  up.'  CEcolampadius  traces  the  origin  of 
the  doctrine  of  the  REAL  PRESENCE  to  Peter  Lombard;  and  contends 
that  every  one  of  the  Fathers  had  held  that  the  words  '  This  is  my 
body,'  were  not  to  be  taken  literally. 

xxxviii  PREFACE. 

Now,  althcugh  the  word  of  God  requires  us  to  receive 
many  things  as  true  which  are  beyond  the  testimony  of 
sense,  and  above  the  deductions  of  right  reason,  it  no 
where  calls  us  to  receive  any  thing  contrary  to  these.  In 
what  page,  or  chapter,  or  verse  of  the  Bible  are  we  called 
to  believe  a  palpable  contradiction  ?  This  negative  ap 
plies,  by  the  way,  not  only  to  the  abstruser  articles  of  the 
faith,  the  coexistence  of  three  coequal  persons  in  the 
one  divine  essence,  the  Godman-hood  of  the  Lord  Jesus 
Christ,  and  the  reality  of  divine  and  diabolical  agency 
within  the  human  soul,  but  also  to  those  simpler  verities 
which  affirm  what  are  called  the  moral  attributes  of  God, 
and  have  been  strangely  marred  and  confounded  by 
neglecting  it.  Luther,  for  instance,  perplexed  to  recon 
cile  what  is  commonly  understood  by  these  with  his  repre 
sentations  of  truth,  has  gone  the  length  of  maintaining 
that  we  do  not  know  what  these  are  in  God :  whereas,  if 
justice,  faithfulness,  purity,  grace,  mercy,  truth  &c.  &c. 
be  not  essentially  the  same  sort  of  principles  in  God,  as 
in  his  moral  creatures,  we  can  know  nothing,  we  can 
believe  nothing,  we  can  feel  nothing  rightly  concerning 
him.  How  these  may  consist  with  each  other,  and  with 
his  actings,  is  a  distinct  consideration  :  but  it  is  a  bungling, 
a  false,  and  a  pernicious  expedient  for  solving  difficulties, 
to  deny  first  principles ;  and,  if  our  very  ideas  of  moral 
qualities,  even  as  respects  their  essential  nature,  be  im 
pugned  and  taken  from  us,  we  cease  to  be  moral  beings. 

The  tenet  of  consubstantiation,  then,  is  contradictory 
both  to  sense  and  reason.  Four  of  our  senses  testify 
against  it,  whilst  only  one  can  claim  to  bear  witness  in 
its  favour.  If  the  disciples  heard  the  Lord  affirm  it,  and 
if  we  hear  it  from  their  writings,  our  sight,  our  touch,  our 
taste,  our  smell,  assure  us  that  it  is  bread,  and  nothing 
but  bread,  which  we  are  pressing  with  our  teeth.* — The 

*  It  was  this  sort  of  argument  which  brought  the  infidel  Gibhon 
back  to  the  Protestant  faith,  from  which  he  had  been  seduced. .  .  .'That 

PREFACE.  xxxix 

same  body  can  only  be  extended  in  one  place  at  the  same 
instant :  the  Lord's  body  therefore,  which  is  at  the  right 
hand  of  God,  cannot  be  in  any  place  where  the  sacrament 
is  administered ;  much  less  in  the  various  places  in  which 
it  is  administered  at  the  same  moment ;  any  more  than  the 
bread  which  he  held  in  his  hand  when  he  instituted  the 
ordinance  could  occupy  the  same  place  as  the  hand  itself. 
Luther  talked  much  of  ubiquity  ;  but  what  is  the  ubiquity 
of  the  Lord's  body  ?  Are  we  not  expressly  taught  that  it 
is  extended,  and  remains  for  a  season,  in  one  place  ?  "  So 
then,  after  the  Lord  had  spoken  unto  them,  he  was  received 
up  into  heaven,  and  sat  on  the  right  hand  of  God ;"  "  Who 
is  gone  into  heaven,  and  is  on  the  right  hand  of  God." 
t(  Who  is  even  at  the  right  hand  of  God."  <l  Sit  on  my  right 
hand,  until  I  make  thine  enemies  thy  footstool."  "  Whom 
the  heavens  must  receive  until  the  times  of  restitution  of 
all  things." — Besides,  what  precludes  all  dispute,  He  has 
in  reality  now  no  such  body  and  blood  to  give.  <f  There  is 
a  natural  body,  and  there  is  a  spiritual  body."  "  Flesh 
and  blood  cannot  inherit  the  kingdom  of  God."  He  did 
indeed  turn  his  spiritual  body  into  a  natural  one,  by 
miracle,  for  some  moments,  at  sundry  times,  after  his 
resurrection,  in  order  that  he  might  give  competency  to 
his  witnesses — f<  Even  to  them  which  did  eat  and  drink  with 
him  after  he  rose  from  the  dead" — but  his  abiding,  ordi-  ', 
nary  subsistence,  ever  since,  has  been  in  a  body  which  no^ 
teeth  could  manducate,  no  lips  enclose. 

All  Luther's  stress  was  upon  the  words  c  This  is  my 
body :'    he  carried  that  sound  and  just  principle  of  his, 
(  Interpret  Scripture   literally,  not  tropically,  where  you  X 
can,'  to  a  false  and  even  ridiculous  extreme  here ;  in  oppo-  v 
sition  to  his  own  admitted  exception,  '  unless  an  evident 

the  text  of  Scripture  which  seems  to  inculcate  the  real  presence  is 
attested  only  by  a  single  sense,  our  sight — while  the  real  presence  itself 
is  disproved  by  three  of  our  senses.'  See  his  '  Memoir  of  my  Life  and 
Writings/  vol.  i.  p.  58. 


context,  and  some  absurdity  which  offendeth  against  one 
of  the  articles  of  our  faith,  in  the  plain  meaning,  constrain 
us  to  such  interpretation.'  (See  Part  iv.  Sect.  iii.  p.  239. 
of  the  following  work.)  Is  this  the  only  instance  of  such 
a  form  of  speech  ?  Circumcision,  elsewhere  called  the 
token  of  the  Abrahamic  covenant,  is,  in  some  places,  called 
the  covenant ;  the  two  tables  of  stone  are  called  the  cove 
nant  ;  the  lamb  is  called  the  passover ;  the  rock  stricken 
in  Horeb  is  called  Christ.  Besides,  if  the  bread  be  con- 
substantiated  into  his  body,  the  cap  should  also  be  con- 
substantiated  into  a  testament ;  "  this  cup  is  the  new  tes 
tament."  And  when  we  have  eaten  this  flesh,  and  drunken 
this  blood  (if  such  act  were  possible)  by  a  carnal  mandu- 
cation  and  deglutition,  what  has  it  done  for  us  ?  As  if 
flesh  could  nourish  spirit ;  or,  as  if  Christ's  flesh  (Luther 
dreamed  that  it  was  so)  were  spirit.' 

Luther  diminished  the  impression  of  his  general  cha 
racter  as  a  reasoner,  and  invalidated  the  authority  of  his 
argumentations,  by  an  elaborate  and  ingenious  obstinacy 
in  this  controversy.  He  gave  himself  the  air  of  an  orator 
who  could  descant  upon  a  broomstick,  and  could  defend 
a  bad  cause  as  vehemently  as  a  good  one,  by  exhausting 
the  great  powers  of  his  mind  in  forcible  appeals  and 
sophistical  illustrations  to  establish  this  unfounded  tenet. 
Not  that  he  knew,  or  thought,  he  was  advocating  false 
hood — his  only  palliation  is,  he  was  honest ;  aye,  honest 
to  his  dying  hour ;  for  however  he  might  regret  the  heat 
of  spirit  and  of  language  into  which  he  had  gone  out 
against  his  opponents,  he  never  made  any  concession  with 
respect  to  his  doctrine,  but  declared  it  amidst  the  concus 
sion  and  relentings  of  a  severe  sickness  in  1526,  and  con 
tinued  to  preach  and  write  upon  it  to  the  last.  The  spirit 
he  had  manifested,  he  did  regret ;  and  well  he  might.  He 
had  maintained  it  like  a  wild  bull  in  a  net,  calling 
names,  and  making  devils  of  his  adversaries — who,  to  say 
the  least,  were  as  pure,  as  learned  and  as  laborious,  if 

PREFACE.  xli 

not  so  commanding  in  their  aspect,  so  exalted  in  their 
sufferings,  and  so  brilliant  in  their  successes,  as  he — and 
the  rending  of  the  mantle  which  should  have  covered 
Switzerland  as  well  as  Germany,  and  made  both  one 
against  the  foe  of  both,  was  more  his  than  theirs.*  This 

*  Take  an  instance  of  the  toil  and  sweat  of  his  argumentation  ;  take 
an  instance,  or  two,  of  the  calumnious  fierceness  with  which  he  pursued 
these  fraternal  adversaries. 

'  But  it  is  absurd  to  suppose  the  body  of  Christ  to  be  in  more  than 
a  hundred  thousand  places  at  once. — This  is  not  more  absurd  than  the 
diffusion  of  the  soul  through  every  part  of  the  body.  Touch  any  part 
of  the  body  with  the  point  of  a  needle,  and  the  whole  man,  the  whole 
soul  is  sensible  of  the  injury.  If  then  the  soul  be  equally  in  every  part 
of  the  body,  and  you  can  give  no  reason  for  it,  why  may  not  Christ  be 
every  where,  and  every  where  equally,  in  the  sacrament  ?  Tell  me,  if 
you  can,  why  a  grain  of  wheat  produces  so  many  grains  of  the  same 
species ;  or  why  a  single  eye  can  fix  itself  at  once  on  a  thousand 
objects,  or  a  thousand  eyes  can  be  fixed  at  once  on  a  single  minute 
object. — Take  another  example.  What  a  feeble,  poor,  miserable, 
vanishing  thing  is  the  voice  of  a  man !  Yet  what  wonders  it  can  per 
form — how  it  penetrates  the  hearts  of  multitudes  of  men  1  and  yet  not 
so  as  that  each  person  acquires  merely  a  portion  of  it,  but  rather  as  if 
every  individual  ear  became  possessed  of  the  whole.  If  thj/j  were  not  a 
matter  of  experience,  there  would  not  be  a  greater  miracle  in  the  whole 
world.  If  then  the  corporeal  voice  of  man  can  effect  such  wonders, 
why  may  not  the  glorified  body  of  Christ  be  much  more  powerful  and 
efficacious  in  its  operations  ? — Farther ;  when  the  Gospel  is  preached 
through  the  exertion  of  the  human  voice,  does  not  every  true  believer, 
by  the  instrumentality  of  the  word,  become  actually  possessed  of  Christ 
in  his  heart  ?  Not  that  Christ  sits  in  the  heart,  as  a  man  sits  upon  a 
chair,  but  rather  as  he  sitteth  at  the  right  hand  of  the  Father.  How 
this  is  no  man  can  tell  ;  yet  the  Christian  knows,  by  experience,  that 
Christ  is  present  in  his  heart.  Again,  every  individual  heart  pos 
sesses  the  whole  of  Christ ;  and  yet  a  thousand  hearts  in  the  aggregate 
possess  no  more  than  one  Christ.  The  sacrament  is  not  a  greater 
miracle  than  this.' 

'  The  Sacramentarian  pestilence  makes  havoc,  and  acquires  strength 
in  its  progress.  Pray  for  me,  I  beseech  you,  for  I  am  cold  and  torpid. 
A  most  unaccountable  lassitude,  if  not  Satan  himself,  possesses  me, 
so  that  I  am  able  to  do  very  little.  Our  ingratitude,  or  perhaps 
some  other  sin,  is  the  cause  of  the  divine  displeasure  :  certainly  our 
notorious  contempt  of  the  word  of  God  will  account  for  the  present 
penal  delusion,  or  even  a  greater.  I  was  but  too  true  a  prophet,  when  I 
predicted  that  something  of  this  kind  would  happen.— If  I  had  not  known 

xlii  PREFACE. 

acrimonious  controversy,  deplorable  on  many  accounts, 
but  not  without  its  direct  and  collateral  benefits,  began  in 

from  experience,  that  God  in  his  anger  did  suffer  men  to  be  carried 
awav  with  delusions,  I  could  not  have  believed  that  so  many,  and  so 
great  men,  would  have  been  seduced  by  such  trifling  and  childish  rea 
sonings,  to  support  this  pestilentious,  this  sacrilegious  heresy.  ...  I  am 
all  on  fire  to  profess  openly  for  once  my  faith  in  the  sacrament,  and  to 
expose  the  tenets  of  our  adversaries  to  derision  in  a  few  words  ;  for 
they  will  not  attend  to  an  elaborate  argument.  I  would  have  published 
my  sentiments  long  ago,  if  I  had  had  leisure,  and  Satan  had  not  thrown 
impediments  in  my  way.  .  .  .  Factious  spirits  always  act  in  this  way. 
They  first  form  to  themselves  an  opinion  which  is  purely  imaginary ; 
and  then  torture  Scripture  to  support  that  opinion.  .  .  .  He  gave  him 
self  seriously  to  the  work,  and  produced,  in  the  month  of  February  or 
March,  a  most  elaborate  treatise,  in  the  German  language,  on  the 
words  '  Take,  eat,  this  is  my  body,'  AGAINST  THE  FANATICAL  SPIRITS 
or  THE  SACRAMENTARIANS.  .  .  .  They  lay  no  stress  on  any  thing  except 
their  Sacramentarian  tenet.  Devoid  of  every  Christian  grace,  they 
pretend  to  the  sanctity  of  martyrs,  ou  account  of  this  single  opinion. 
.  .  .  They  would  persuade  one  that  this  was  the  great,  the  only  concern 
of  the  Holy  Ghost ;  when,  in  reality,  it  is  a  delusion  of  Satan,  who, 
under  the  pretence  of  love  and  concord,  is  raising  dissensions  and  mis 
chiefs  of  every  kind.' — In  the  celebrated  conference  at  Marpurg,  pro 
posed  and  accomplished  by  the  landgrave  of  Hesse  in  1529,  for  the 
purpose  of  mutual  conciliation  and  peace — though  the  Sacramentarians 
begged  hard  to  be  acknowledged  as  brethren,  and  even  went  so  far  as  to 
own  repeatedly,  that  the  body  of  Christ  was  verily  present  in  the  Lord's 
Supper,  though  in  a  spiritual  manner,  and  Zuingle  himself,  in  pressing 
for  mutual  fraternity,  declared  with  tears,  that  there  was  no  man  in 
the  world  with  whom  he  more  earnestly  wished  to  agree,  than  with  the 
Wittemberg  divines — the  spirit  of  Luther  proved  perfectly  untractable 
and  intolerant.  It  seems  he  had  come  with  a  mind  determined  not  to 
budge  one  inch  upon  this  point.  Accordingly,  '  nothing  more  could  be 
gained  from  him  than  that  each  side  should  shew  Christian  charity  to 
the  other  as  far  as  they  could  conscientiously ;  and  that  both  should 
diligently  pray  God  to  lead  them  into  the  truth.  To  go  further,  Luther 
maintained,  was  impossible  ;  and  expressed  astonishment  that  the  Swiss 
divines  could  look  upon  him  as  a  Christian  brother,  when  they  did 
not  believe  his  doctrine  to  be  true.  In  such  circumstances,  however, 
though  there  could  be  no  such  thing  as  fraternal  union,  the  parties,  he 
allowed,  might  preserve  a  friendly  sort  of  peace  and  concord;  might  do 
good  turns  to  each  other,  and  abstain  from  harsh  and  acrimonious 
language.'  The  vehemence,  in  fact,  was  not  confined  to  one  side, 
though  the  Swiss  had  learned  more  of  modern  manners  than  the 
Lutherans,  and  could  cut  deep  without  appearing  to  cany  a  sword  ; 

PREFACE.  xliii 

1524,  and  continued  to  and  beyond  Luther's  death :  the 
churches  which  pass  under  his  name  still  retain  his 

In  the  last  of  these  controversies,  I  pronounce  him  all  in 
the  right ;  right,  I  would  be  understood  to  mean,  as  respects 
his  conclusion  and  his  opponent,  though  he  adduces  some 
arguments  which  might  have  been  spared,  and  does  not 
always  exhibit  a  full  understanding  and  correct  use  of  his 

Erasmus,  who  was  Luther's  predecessor  in  age  by 
about  sixteen  years,  had  done  the  reformers  some  service ; 
chiefly  by  facilitating  the  knowledge  of  the  ancient  lan 
guages  through  his  successful  researches  in  literature,  but 
not  a  little  by  employing  his  peculiar  talent  of  ridicule 
upon  some  of  the  grosser  abominations  of  Popery.  Not 
that  he  had  any  hearty  concern  about  these  ;  but  he  was 
a  man  born  pour  le  rire — he  was  all  for  his  jest — and 
monks  and  friars  furnished  him  with  a  subject  which  he 
did  not  know  how  to  reject.  Like  Lucian  and  Porphyry 
therefore,  he,  without  seriously  meaning  it,  prepared  the 
way  for  a  better  faith,  by  turning  much  of  the  old  into 
derision.  He  was  indignant  to  be  thought  a  sceptic  ;  and 
many  now-a-days  think  him  hardly  used  by  such  an  in 
sinuation.  But  is  not  every  one  who  trifles  with  his  soul 
a  sceptic  ?  and  what  is  the  great  multitude  of  professing 
Christians  but  such  a  company  of  triflers,  who,  if  they 
were  brought  to  the  test,  would  act  what  he  said  in  his 
irony,  '  God  has  not  given  every  body  the  spirit  of 
martyrdom  ?' 

Erasmus,  however,  had  committed  himself  in  some 
degree  to  the  cause  of  the  reformers,  by  speaking  well  of 

whereas  the  Lutherans  growled  more  than  they  bit,  in  this  fight. — 
Still  our  business  is  with  the  wrong  of  Luther.  He  provoked  first,  he 
spoke  worst  ;  their  acrimony  was  no  excuse  for  his.  His  was  the  fury 
of  a  great  man  brought  to  the  level  of,  or  even  below  his  equals  ;  whom 
lie  would  fain  count  his  inferiors,  and  treat  as  his  vassals. 

xliv  PREFACE. 

them,  specially  of  Luther,    and  acquiescing  in  many  of 
their  dogmas.     In  1520,  when  the  bull  was  preparing,  and 
when  the  bull  was  out,  he  had  both  written  and  spoken  a 
very  decided  language  in  Luther's  favour  :    '  God  had  sent 
him  to  reform  mankind  ;'  '  Luther's  sentiments  are  true, 
but  I  wish  to  see  more  mildness  in  his  manner;'  '  The 
cause  of  Luther  is  invidious,  because  he  at  once  attacks 
the  bellies  of  the  monks,  and  the  diadem  of  the  Pope.' 
1  Luther  possesses  great  natural  talents  ;  he  has  a  genius 
particularly  adapted  to  the  explanation  of  difficult  points 
of  literature,  and  for  rekindling   the    sparks   of  genuine 
evangelical  doctrine,  which  have  been  almost  extinguished 
by  the  trifling  subtilties  of  the  schools.     Men  of  the  very 
best  character,  of  the  soundest  learning,  and  of  the  most 
religious  principles,  are  much  pleased  with  Luther's  books ; 
in  proportion   as   any  person  is  remarkable   for  upright 
morals  and  gospel-purity,  he  has  the  less  objections  to 
Luther's    sentiments.     Besides,  the   life    of  the   man   is 
extolled,  even  by  those  who  cannot  bear  his  doctrines.    It 
grieved  him  that  a  man  of  such  FINE  PARTS  should  be  ren 
dered  desperate  by  the  mad  cries  and  bellowings  of  the 
monks.'     When  pressed  by  the  Pope's  legates  to    write 
against  Luther,  he  answered,  (  Luther  is  too  great  a  man 
for  me  to  encounter.     I  do  not  even  always  understand 
him.     However,  to  speak  plainly,  he  is  so  extraordinary  a 
man,  that  I  learn  more  from  a  single  page  of  his  books 
than  from  all  the  writings  of  Thomas  Aquinas.' — Still,  as 
the  cause  advanced,  Erasmus  did  not  advance  with  it,  but 
receded.     Vanity,  a  love  of  the  praise  of  men,  was   his 
ruling  passion  ;  and  the  particular  mode  of  it,  a  desire  to 
stand  high  with  great  men — with  princes,  dignified  eccle 
siastics,  and  all  who  were  highly  thought  of — to   stand 
high,  specially  on  the   ground   of  extreme  moderation  j 
such  as  became  a  man  of  letters.     He  would  be  an  Atticus 
in  his  day.     To  join  heartily  with  the  reformers  was  not 
the  way  to  achieve  this  object;  they  were  despised  by  the 


rulers,  and,  what  was  still  move  provoking,  they  would  not 
make  him  a  king  even  among  themselves. 

'  Micat  inter  omnes 
Julium  sidus,  velut  inter  ignes 

Luna  minores.' — Hor. 

But  he  was  not  that  Luna,  Luther  was  that  Luna.  What 
was  to  be  done  therefore,  but  to  pout,  and  distinctly  sepa 
rate  himself  from  them  ;  giving  the  princes  clearly  to 
understand,  that  they  were  mistaken  if  they  thought  him 
one  of  them  ?  Thus,  by  a  sort  of  dexterous  manoeuvre,  he 
would  kill  two  birds  at  once  j  avenge  the  injury  of  his 
{  spreta  forma,'  and  open  a  way  for  the  sun  and  stars  to 
shine  in  upon  him.  He  confessed  this  in  his  answer  to 
Luther :  <  As  yet  I  have  not  written  a  syllable  against 
you ;  otherwise  I  might  have  secured  much  applause  from 
the  great ;  but  I  saw  I  should  injure  the  Gospel.  I  have 
only  endeavoured  to  do  away  the  idea  that  there  is  a  per 
fect  understanding  between  you  and  me,  and  that  all  your 
doctrines  are  in  my  books.  Pains  have  been  taken  to  instil 
this  sentiment  into  the  mind  of  the  princes,  and  it  is  hard 
even  now  to  convince  them  that  it  is  not  so.'  Luther 
would  have  been  glad  that  the  matter  should  rest  here. 
Erasmus  had  done  all  the  service  he  was  made  for ;  but 
let  him  not  become  their  enemy :  he  was  a  successful 
sharpshooter;  some  of  his  shots  would  hit,  annoy  and 
dismay.  There  were  underlings,  however,  in  Luther's 
camp,  as  well  as  in  the  Pope's :  and  these  had  not  quite 
mind  enough  to  preserve  Luther's  line.  They  would  step 
beyond  it ;  they  lampooned  the  satirist ;  hinted  pretty 
broadly  what  he  was,  and  made  him  little  to  his  great  ones. 
Luther  tried  to  abate  the  shock  of  their  attack ;  but  it  was 
too  late.  The  enemy  had  been  beforehand  with  him. 
Henry  of  England  had  implored,  Adrian  in  two  epistles 
had  supplicated,  duke  George  had  demanded,  Tunstall 
had  conjured,  Clement  had  persuaded  :  and  all  this,  whilst 
the  sting  of  the  wasps  was  yet  sore.  Luther  makes  his 

xlvi  PREFACE. 

last  attempt  to  pacify  him  :  with  great  forbearance,  yet 
not  trenching  upon  sincerity ;  with  some  galling  hints  as 
to  the  real  state  of  the  cause,  but,  as  Erasmus  himself 
allowed,  with  sufficient  civility.  (  I  shall  not  complain  of 
you,  for  having  behaved  yourself  as  a  man  estranged  from 
us,  to  keep  fair  with  the  Papists,  my  enemies ;  nor  that 
you  have  censured  us  with  too  much  acrimony.' . . . .(  The 
whole  world  must  own  with  gratitude  your  great  talents 
and  services  in  the  cause  of  literature,  through  the  revival 
of  which  we  are  enabled  to  read  the  sacred  Scriptures  in 
their  originals. — I  never  wished  that,  forsaking  or  neglect 
ing  your  own  proper  talents,  you  should  enter  into  our 
camp.' . . .  /  I  could  have  wished  that  the  COMPLAINT  of 
Hutten  had  never  been  published.' . . . .'  I  am  concerned, 
as  well  as  you  that  the  resentment  and  hatred  of  so  many 
eminent  persons  hath  been  excited  against  you.  I  must 
suppose  that  this  gives  you  no  small  uneasiness ;  for  vir 
tue  like  yours,  mere  human  virtue,  cannot  raise  a  man 

above  being  affected  by  such  trials' '  What  can  I  do 

now  ?  Things  are  exasperated  on  both  sides ;  and  I  could 
wish,  if  I  might  be  allowed  to  act  the  part  of  a  mediator, 
that  they  would  cease  to  attack  you  with  such  animosity, 
and  suffer  your  old  age  to  rest  in  peace  in  the  Lord  :  and 
thus  they  would  conduct  themselves,  in  my  opinion,  if 
they  either  considered  your  weakness,  or  the  magnitude 
of  the  controverted  cause,  which  hath  been  long  since 
beyond  your  capacity.  They  would  shew  their  moderation 
towards  you  so  much  the  more,  since  our  affairs  are 
advanced  to  such  a  point,  that  our  cause  is  in  no  peril, 
although  even  Erasmus  should  attack  it  with  all  his  might; 
so  far  are  we  from  fearing  any  of  his  strokes  and  stric 
tures.'  '  Our  prayer  is,  that  the  Lord  may  bestow  on 

you  a  spirit  worthy  of  your  great  reputation ;  but  if  this 
be  not  granted,  I  entreat  you,  if  you  cannot  help  us,  to 
remain  at  least  a  spectator  of  our  severe  conflict ;  and  not 
to  join  our  adversaries  j  and  in  particular  not  to  write 

PREFACE.  xlvii 

tracts  against  us  ;  on  which  condition  I  will  not  publish 
against  you/ 

All  is  in  vain  :  to  preserve  his  gold,  to  shew  his  grati 
tude  for  what  he  has  already  received,  and  (except  he  be 
barbarously  treated)  to  earn  more,  his  pledges  must  now 
be  redeemed,  and  out  comes  the  Diatribe.* 

He  vapours  much  about  the  great  danger  of  publishing 
it  :  f  no  printer  at  Basil  would  dare  to  undertake  his 
or  any  work  which  contained  a  word  against  Luther.' 
*  The  die  is  cast,  he  tells  Henry  (to  whom  he  had  sent  a 
part  of  the  manuscript  for  his  approbation)  ;  my  little  book 
on  Freewill  is  published :  a  bold  deed,  believe  me,  if  the 
situation  of  Germany  at  this  time  be  considered  :  I  expect 
to  be  pelted ;  but  I  will  console  myself  with  the  example 
of  your  majesty,  who  has  not  escaped  their  outrages/ 
Conscience  speaks  out,  when  he  says  to  Wolsey,  '  I  have 
not  chosen  to  dedicate  this  work  to  any  one,  least  my 
calumniators  should  instantly  say  that  in  this  business  I 
had  been  hired  to  please  the  great :  otherwise  I  would 
have  inscribed  it  to  you,  or  to  the  Pope/  His  ruling 
passion  speaks  out,  when  he  declares  the  mighty  conse 
quences  which  he  expected  from  his  publication.  He 
writes  to  Tunstall ;  (  The  little  book  is  out ;  and,  though 
written  with  the  greatest  moderation,  will,  if  I  mistake  not, 
excite  most  prodigious  commotions.  Already  pamphlets 
fly  at  my  head/ 

Such  was  the  birth  of  the  Diatribe  ;  the  offspring  of  a 
peevish,  dissatisfied,  vain  man ;  who  had  tampered  with 
both  parties,  and  pleased  neither,  but  was  now  sufficiently 
determined  which  side  he  would  be  of,  yet  aimed  still  to 
preserve  his  favourite  character  of  moderation.     It  is  the  < 
work  of  a  great  scholar,  but  not  of  a  deep  thinker ;  '  of  / 
one  who  had  scoured  the  surface  of  his  question,  but  by  no  5 

*  He  feared  losing  the  pension  which  he  received  from  England. 
Clement  had  made  him  a  present  of  two  hundred  florins.  He  had 
received  most  magnificent  promises  from  popes,  prelates  and  princes. 


xlviii  PREFACE. 

'  means  penetrated  into  its  substance ;'  of  one  who  knew 
[.  what  is  in  the  Bible,  but  did  not  understand  the  Bible : 
.  imposing,  but  not  solid ;  objurgatory  and  commendative  ; 
but  neither  disproving  what  he  blamed,  nor  establishing, 
or  even  denning,  what  he  approved.  Yet  is  this  a  perform- 
<  ance,  such  as,  not  careless  persons  only,  but  half  the  tribe 
of  professedly  serious  gospellers  will  defend,  and  do  in 
substance  maintain,  in  opposition  to  Luther's ;  nay,  many 
that  call  and  account  themselves  Calvinists,  or  Calvinistic 
(I  am  by  no  means  an  advocate  for  names — it  is  character 
and  principle,  not  sect  or  party,  that  I  would  uphold),  are 
in  heart  and  understanding,  if  not  avowedly,  Freewillers ; 
squaring,  as  they  seek  to  do,  the  testimony  of  Jesus  Christ, 
the  Son  of  God,  to  the  deductions  of  blinded  human  rea 
son,  and  making  a  God  for  themselves,  by  blending  shreds 
and  patches  of  Scripture  with  shreds  and  patches  of  their 
own  imagination,  instead  of  simply  studying,  lying  at  the 
feet  of,  and  inhabiting,  that  living  and  true  One,  whom  the 
Bible  has  been  written  and  published  to  make  known. — I 
subscribe  my  testimony  to  Luther's,  that  it  is  tedious, 
•  distinctive,  illusory,  false  and  pernicious. 

Luther  hesitated  about  answering  it ;  but  at  length 
consented  to  do  so,  for  reasons  which  he  declares  in  the 
introduction  of  his  letter  :  if  he  was  to  answer  such  a 
production  of  such  a  man  upon  such  a  subject,  why,  it 
must  be  done  as  he  has  done  it — with  all  his  miijht.  He 


that  would  see  Luther,  therefore,  may  behold  him  here. 

Erasmus  replied  in  two  distinct  treatises  under  the 
name  of  Hyperaspistes,  f  defender  as  with  a  shield  ;'  the 
first,  as  he  tells  us,  written  in  ten  days,  that  it  might  be 
ready  for  the  ensuing  Frankfort  fair  (the  great  mart  for 
literature  as  well  as  commerce,  in  that  day) — a  passionate 
and  hasty  effusion,  in  which  he  did  not  give  himself  time 
to  think  ;  the  second,  a  very  long  and  highly-laboured 
performance,  in  which  ( he  was  completely  unfettered,  and 
completely  in  earnest,  and,  if  he  had  been  able,  would, 

PREFACE.  xlix 

without  the  least  mercy,  have  trampled  on  Luther,  and 
ground  him  to  powder.'  l  Diis  aliter  viswn.'  (  This 
second  book  is  very  long  and  very  tedious  ;  but  the  tedi- 
ousness,  of  which  every  reader  must  complain,  is  not  owing 
so  much  to  the  length  of  the  performance,  as  to  the  con 
fusion  which  pervades  it  throughout.  The  writer  is  kept 
sufficiently  alive,  amidst  great  prolixity,  by  the  unceasing 
irritation  of  his  hostility  and  resentment ;  but  the  reader 
is  fatigued  and  bewildered,  by  being  led  through  obscure 
paths  one  after  another,  and  never  arriving  at  any  distinct 
and  satisfactory  conclusion.  A  close  attention  of  the  mind 
to  a  long  series  of  confused  and  jumbled  propositions 
wearies  the  intellect,  as  infallibly,  as  a  continued  exertion 
in  looking  at  objects  difficult  to  be  distinguished  exhausts 
the  powers  of  the  most  perfect  organs  of  vision.' 

Luther  did  not  rejoin  to  this  twofold  reply  :  he  well  knew 
that  Erasmus  was  fighting  for  victory,  not  for  truth,  and 
he  had  better  things  to  do  than  write  books  merely  to  repeat 
unanswered  arguments.  There  was  nothing  of  argument 
in  the  Hyperaspistes,  which  had  not  been  answered  in  his 
Bondage  of  the  Will ;  even  as  there  was  nothing  in  the 
Diatribe,  which  had  not  been  in  substance  advanced  and 
confuted  many  times  before.  The  Letter,  or  Treatise, 
which  is  now  presented  to  the  public  must,  therefore,  be 
considered  as  containing  Luther's  full,  final,  and,  as  he; 
deemed  it,  unrefuted  and  irrefragable  judgment,  on  the 
state  of  the  human  will. 

That  state  is,  according  to  Erasmus,  a  state  of  liberty ; 
according  to  Luther,  a  state  of  bondage.  Such  is  the  sub 
ject  and  position  brought  into  debate  by  Erasmus,  and 
accepted  as  matter  of  challenge  by  Luther. 

The  accurate  Locke,  whose  name  I  would  ever  recite 
with  veneration  and  gratitude,  has  shewn  that  the  ques 
tion  is  improperly  stated.  The  will,  he  says  in  substance, 
is  but  a  power  of  the  human  mind,  or,  of  the  man ;  free 
dom  is  also  a  power  of  the  man;  to  ask,  therefore, 



whether  the  will  be  free  is  to  ask  whether  one  power  of 
the   man  possesses  another  power   of  the   man  ;   which 
is  like  asking,  whether  his  sleep  be  swift,  or  his  virtue 
square;    liberty   being    as    little  applicable    to    the   will, 
as    swiftness   of  motion   is   to    sleep,    or  squareness    to 
c  virtue.     The  proper  question  is,  not  whether  man's  will 
)be  free,  but  whether  man  be  free  :  and  this  he  determines 
*  that  he  is,  in  so  far,  and  only  so  far,  as  he  can  by  the 
f  direction  or  choice  of  his  mind,  preferring  the  existence 
of  any  action  to  the  non-existence  of  that  action,  and  vice 
(versa,  make  it  to  exist,  or  not  exist ;  liberty  being  a  power 
4to  act,  or  not  to  act,  according  as  we  shall  choose,  or,  will. 
*If  however  the  improper  question  be  still  urged,  whether 
the  will  be  free,  it  must  be  changed  into  this  form;  is 
man  free  to  ivill  ?  that  is,  has  he  liberty  in  the  exercise  of 
his  will  ?  Now  this  must  respect  either  the  act  of  exercising 
his  will ;  or  the  result  of  that  exercise,  the  thing  chosen. 
As  to  the  former  of  these,  he  determines,  that,  in  the  greater 
number  of  cases,  man  has  not  liberty ;  for  when  any  action 
in  his  power  is  once  proposed  to  his  thoughts,  as  presently 
to  be  done,  will  he  must :  in  the  latter,  he  determines,  that 
he  cannot  but  have  liberty ;  he  wills  what  he  wills,  he  is 
pleased  with  what  he  is  pleased  with.     To  make  a  ques 
tion  here,  is  to  suppose  that  one  will  determines  the  acts 
of  another,  and  that  another  determines  that ;   and  so  on 
in  iiifinitum.* — In  this  latter  assertion,  Luther,  it  must  be 
remarked,  is  as  explicit  as  Locke ;  maintaining  expressly, 
<that  a  compelled  will   is   a   contradiction  in  terms,   and 
should  be  called  Nohmtas,  rather  than   Volant  as :  non- 
^  will,  rather  than  will.   (See  Part  i.  Sect.  xxiv.  p.  69.) 

The  schoolmen,  from  whom  Luther  and  Erasmus  took 
this  question  (Erasmus  first  on  this  occasion — but  then 
Luther  had  taken  it  up  before),  made  a  distinction  between 
the  absolute  faculty  of  the  will,  and  that  faculty  as  exer 
cised,  or,  in  action.  Their  question  was  not,  an  sit  libera 

*  See  Locke's  Essay,  vol.  i.  pp.  195—200.  b.  ii.  c.  21. 


voluntas,  but  an  sit  liberum  arbitrium  ?  a  distinction,  in 
fact,  without  a  difference :  because,  what  is  the  subject 
matter  about  which  they  were  disputing  ?  not  a  dormant 
faculty  surely,  but  a  faculty  such  as  it  is  when  exercised  ; 
for  how  else  can  its  nature  and  properties  be  ascertained  ? 
Luther  is  as  perceptive  as  Locke  himself  here.  Erasmus, 
in  his  definition  of  Freewill,  calls  it  '  that  power  of  the 
human  will  by  which  a  man  is  able  to  turn  himself  to 
those  things  which  appertain  to  his  salvation,  or  to  turn 
himself  away  from  them  :'  in  reality  meaning  ta  .interpose 
ajsomethibig.  between  the  will  .and  its  actings.  Luther, 
when  canvassing  this  definition,  denies  that  there  can  be 
any  such  tertium  quid',  and  uses  a  language  so  very  like 
Locke's,  that  it  might  well  draw  from  his  historian  the 
remark,  '  Luther,  with  as  much  acuteness  as  if  he  had 
studied  Mr.  Locke's  famous  chapter  on  power,  replies  &c.J 
(  But,  what  is  meant  by  this  same  power  f  applying  itself 
and  turning  away  itself;'  except  it  be  this  very  willing 
and  refusing,  this  very  choosing  and  despising,  this  very 
approving  and  rejecting  ;  in  short,  except  it  be  '  the  will 
performing  its  very  office  ;'  I  see  not.  So  that  we  must 
suppose  this  power  to  be  f  a  something  interposed  between 
the  will  itself  and  its  actings  :'  a  power  by  Avhich  the  will 
itself  draws  out  the  operation  of  willing  and  refusing,  and 
by  which  that  very  act  of  willing  and  refusing  is  elicited.  It 
is  not  possible  to  imagine  or  conceive  any  thing  else  here.' 
See  Part  iii.  Sect.  ii.  p.  132. 

But  this  false  distinction  opens  a  door  to  the  solution 
of  the  whole  difficulty.  Their  improper  question  has  been, 
(  Is  the  will  free  ?'  The  proper  question  would  be,  *  Is  the 
understanding  free  ?'  that  is,  has  the  man's  will  all  the 
case  before  it,  when  he  decides  upon  any  given  ques 
tion  ?  A  blind  understanding  will  lead  to  a  false  deter 
mination,  though  that  determination  be  made  without  any 
thing  approaching  to  compulsion.  Now  this  I  apprehend 
to  be  just  the  true  state  of  the  case :  the  natural  man, 


lii  PREFACE. 

having  his  understanding  darkened,  being  alienated  from 
the  life  of  God,  through  the  ignorance  that  is  in  him,  be 
cause  of  the  blindness  of  his  heart ;  and  being,  moreover, 
possessed  by  the  devil,  whose  energizing  consists  in  main 
taining  and  increasing  his  blindness ;  forms  his  decisions 
and  determinations  upon  partial  and  false  evidence.  The 
same  observation  extends  to  the  spiritual  man,  in  so  far 
as  he  is  not  spiritual ;  in  so  far  as  his  flesh,  through  which 
the  devil  acts  upon  him,  is  allowed  in  subserviency  to  the 
great  general  principle,  f  God's  glory  in  his  real  good/  to 
influence  the  determination  of  his  will.  So  that  it  is  the 
judgment,  perception,  or  understanding,  not  the  will,  cor 
rectly  speaking,  which  is  really  in  bondage  ;  that  faculty, 
which  presents  objects  to  the  determining  faculty,  presenting 
them  erroneously,  either  by  suppressing  what  ought  to  be 
made  present,  or  giving  a  false  colouror  distorted  appearance 
to  that  which  is,  and  ought  to  be,  there.  This  suggestion 
will  explain  the  paradox,  that  the  will  is  at  the  same  time 
;,free  and  not  free,  in  popular  language  :  free,  inasmuch  as 
--'from  its  very  nature  it  cannot  be  compelled  ;  not  free, 
inasmuch  as  it  acts  in  the  dark  :  so  that  it  may  more  fitly 
be  called  blind-will,  than  bond-will;  which  is  Luther's 
'term.  This  suggestion  will  go  further;  it  will  explain  all 
mysteries  and  all  paradoxes  :  Paul's  conflict  in  Romans 
vii. — Pharaoh's  induration — our  own  daily  experience — • 
nay,  the  whole  system  of  God's  government,  in  ruling,  as 
he  does,  a  world  of  moral  beings — flee  before  it.  Only 
such  considerations  as  He  makes  present  can  really  con 
stitute  the  materials  of  any  judgment  which  we  form,  and 
consequently  of  any  determination  which  we  can  come  to, 
with  respect  to  our  own  actings  :  that  is,  our  volitions, 
whilst  free,  are  subject  to  His  agency,  and,  through  the 
means  of  our  perceptions,  His  will  becomes  ours. — I  have 
adopted  throughout,  however,  the  language  of  the  com 
batants  ;  which  is  also  the  language  of  common  life.  I 
speak  of  the  will  as  free,  or  in  bondage ;  and  I  use  the 

PREFACE.  liii 

term  Freewill,  as  expressive  of  some  supposed  power  in 
man,  separating  it  into  a  sort  of  distinct  substance,  and 
almost  continually  personifying  it. 

Let  it  be  conceded  then,  that  the  question  is  not  cor 
rectly  worded;  that  the  proper  inquiry  is,  not  whether 
man's  will  be  free,  but  whether  man  be  free ;  or  rather, 
as  we  have  just  seen,  whether  his  perceptive  faculty  be 
clear  and  entire  :  still  the  substance  of  the  debate  remains 
unaltered,  and  its  importance  unimpaired.  Essentially, 
we  are  ascertaining  what  is  the  moral  state  of  man ;  and 
the  considerations,  nay,  even  the  expressions,  introduced 
into  many  parts  of  the  discussion,  will  shew  that  it  is  not 
an  abstract  and  isolated  question  about  the  will  which  we 
are  entertaining,  but  an  investigation  of  our  Adam  soul. 
What  shall  be  called  momentous,  if  this  subject  be  not  so  ? 
What  can  be  understood,  if  this  be  unknown  ?  Of  what  \ 
sort  is  the  Christ  of  an  ignorant  Freewiller  ?  (See  Part  i. 
Sect.  v.  vi.  vii.  viii.)  The  truth  is,  ignorance  of  the  real 
state  of  man  lies  at  the  root  of  all  religious  ignorance,  and 
it  is,  manifestly,  the  ordained,  arranged  and  continually 
operated  course  of  the  Lord's  dealings  with  his  people  to 
bring  them  to  the  knowledge,  use  and  enjoyment  of  Him 
self  through  the  means  of  deep,  minute,  self-emptying 
and  self-abasing  self-knowledge.  How  can  this  be,  but 
by  opening  to  us  the  abyss  of  impotency  as  well  as  crime, 
of  blindness  as  well  as  enmity,  into  which  we  have  freely 
plunged  ourselves  ? 

It  is  the  peculiarity  of  this  treatise  to  explore  the  pre 
sent  state  of  the  human  soul  by  the  aid  of  scripture  testi 
monies  and  scriptural  reasonings,  exclusively;  without  one 
syllable  of  abstract  philosophical  investigation  beyond  what 
is  absolutely  necessary  to  the  writing  and  reading  upon  it 
intelligibly.*  Luther  was  not  ignorant  of  metaphysics  ; 

*  I  was  once  asked,  why,  with  such  an  excellent  treatise  as  Jonathan 
Edwards's,  and  others,  in  our  own  language,  I  thought  it  necessary  to 
revive  Luther.  Here  is  my  answer.  Your  great  metaphysicians  decora- 

liv  PREFACE. 

he  had  been  thoroughly  trained  in  Aristotle  and  the  school 
men  :  if  he  forbore  to  use  such  weapons,  it  was  because 
he  disdained  them  ;  I  should  rather  say,  because,  according 
to  his  own  testimony  as  recited  already,  he  had  found 
them  pernicious.  Erasmus  sometimes  compels  him  to 
break  a  lance  of  this  kind  ;  when  he  gives  full  proof  that 
he  could  have  handled  such  weapons  dexterously,  if  he 
had  deemed  them  to  be  the  weapons  of  the  sanctuary. 
One  who  was  no  common  speculator,  and  no  unskilful 
arbitrator,  has  said  of  him ;  '  Even  in  the  metaphysical 
niceties,  which  could  not  be  entirely  avoided  in  this  ab 
struse  inquiry,  he  proved  greatly  his  (Erasmus's)  over 
match.'  But  those  who  have  really  submitted  themselves 
to  the  authority  of  Scripture,  and  have  drunk  deep  of  it 
to  know  the  Father's  testimony  concerning  Jesus,  will  feel 
that,  as  this  subject  is  the  most  momentous  which  can 
engage  the  human  soul,  so  this  method  of  investigating  it 
can  alone  be  expected  to  yield  a  satisfactory  conclusion. 
They  will  rejoice  therefore,  that  such  a  man  as  Erasmus — 
a  man  well  acquainted  with  the  letter  of  Scripture  (so 
Luther  testifies  of  him — qui  sic  nostra  omnia  perlustra- 
vit — Part  iii.  Sect.  vi.  note  e) — should  have  delivered  his 
challenge  in  the  form  of  an  appeal  to  the  canonical 
Scriptures  only;  and  that  such  a  man  as  Luther,  who 
had  penetrated  to  no  inconsiderable  depth  in  the  mines 

pound  man ;  and,  if  they  could,  would  decompound  God.  Your  great 
theologians  do  the  same.  But  if  we  would  really  know  either  man  or 
God,  we  must  first  learn  to  take  the  Bible  for  granted — that  it  is  the 
word  of  God — and  then  study  both,  as  therein  drawn  and  described  :  not 
imagining  a  God  for  ourselves,  by  decking  out  some  we  know  not  what 
substratum  with  a  number  of  what  we  call  attributes ;  but  remember 
ing,  that  what  we  hear  called  His  attributes  are  in  reality  parts  of  His 
essence,  and  considering,  that  it  is  THAT  GOOD  ONE  who  hath  devised, 
fore-ordained,  and  in  his  appointed  time  manifested  the  Lord  Jesus 
Christ  as  the  image  of  Himself,  in  his  person  and  in  his  actings — which 
is  our  God  ;  and  that  we  ourselves  are  parts  of  that  Adam,  by  his  deal 
ings  with,  and  declarations  concerning  which,  in  Christ,  He  has  been, 
and  is,  effecting  the  manifestation  of  what  He  himself  is. 


of  that  volume,  should  have  accepted  and  brought  it  to 

The  ORDER  of  the  argumentation  is  minutely  shewn  in 
the  Table  of  Contents  which  follows,  and  is  aftenvards 
noticed  at  the  head  of  each  Part  and  Section.  I  shall  only 
premise  therefore,  that,  after  a  short  Introduction,  Luther 
pursues  the  order  of  Erasmus's  march  (who,  desultory  as 
he  is,  furnishes  us  with  a  clue  for  his  labyrinth-),  first 
examining  his  Preface,  then  his  Proem,  then  his  testi 
monies,  then  his  pretended  refutation,  and  afterwards 
establishing  his  own  position  by  direct  proof :  he  concludes 
the  whole  with  a  pathetic  address,  even  as  each  Part  ex 
hibits  a  specimen  of  the  '  melting  mood,'  in  its  close.  It 
is  a  common  idea,  that  Luther  wanted  softness ;  yet  the 
once  cloistered,  but  afterwards  conjugal  and  paternal 
monk,  could  weep,  be  gentle,  be  compassionate,  be  a  little 

The  FORM  of  the  treatise  is  epistolary :  it  is  truly  no 
thing  else  but  a  LETTER  to  Erasmus ;  and  therefore  I  have 
preferred  the  division  of  PARTS  to  that  of  CHAPTERS — con 
sidering  chapters  of  a  letter  as  anomalous,  though  we  are 
accustomed  to  it,  I  grant,  in  our  distribution  of  the  Scrip 
tures  :  this  division  however,  it  is  to  be  remembered,  has 
no  authority,  and  has  led  to  much  misconstruction  ;  Locke 
advises  those  who  would  understand  Paul  to  disregard  it. 
I  have  only  one  caution  to  give  with  respect  to  these  Parts  ; 
which  is,  that  the  reader  do  not  suffer  himself  to  take 
fright  at  some  of  the  less  inviting  gladiations  of  the  first 
Part — not  that  /  account  them  uninteresting,  but  that  the 
work  increases  in  interest,  as  it  proceeds.  I  trust  the  reader 
will  find  it  so,  and  will  remember  meanwhile,  that  we 
must  make  a  way  to  the  walls,  as  well  as  storm  them. 

I  cannot  compliment  Luther  upon  his  STYLE  :  the  sen 
tences  are  long,  the  ideas  multifarious ;  the  words  often 
barbarous,  their  collocation  inharmonious.  But  there  is 
always  meaning  in  what  he  says,  although  that  meaning  be 


not  always  obvious,  or  clear :  he  is  sometimes  elaborately 
eloquent,  and  often  simply  so.  The  language  is  like  the 
man.  He  is  Hercules  with  his  club,  rather  than  Achilles 
with  his  sword ;  more  of  a  Menelaus  than  an  Ulysses  ; 
always  forcible,  sometimes  playful;  drawing  wires  now 
and  then ;  never  leaving  a  loophole  for  his  adversary  to 
escape  through,  but  dragging  him  through  many  of  his  own. 

The  EXCELLENCES  of  this  treatise  are,  a  noble  stand  for 
truth  on  its  proper  ground — God's  testimony  unmixed  with 
man's  testimony  (see  Part  ii.  Sect,  i — xii.)  ;  that  ground 
cleared  from  objection  (Partii.  Sect.  xiii.  xiv.);  an  integral 
part  of  the  truth  of  God  firmly  set  upon  its  base  (see  Part 
iii.  Part  iv.  Part  v.)  ;  much  of  it,  besides,  collaterally  and 
incidentally  asserted  or  implied — proved,  or  left  to  clear 
and  palpable  inference :  so  that  a  man  need  not  fear  to 
say,  '  Give  me  Luther,  and  I  will  give  you  THE  TRUTH.' 

But  Luther  has  not  given  it  us,  either  in  this  treatise, 
or  elsewhere ;  the  defects  of  his  theological  system  being 
manifest  in  this  best  of  his  best,*  as  well  as  his  other  per 
formances  :  I  say  *  theological  system  ;'  because  TRUTH  is 
one  vast  whole,  not  a  number  of  disjointed  and  dissevered 
propositions' — a  whole  made  up  of  many  parts,  which, 
whilst  distinct,  are  yet  so  closely  interwoven  and  com 
pacted  with  each  other,  that  it  is  scarcely  possible  to  dis 
cern  any  one  of  these  as  it  really  is,  without  discerning 
each,  and  all,  and  that  whole.  Let  those  who  deny  sys 
tem  in  the  Bible  say  what  they  understand  by  'H  tiXrjOeia 
(the  truth)  ;  let  those  who  deny  system  in  the  Bible  say 
why  this  should  be  a  name  for  that  counsel,  or  plan,  which 
God  is  executing  in  Christ ;  why  it  should  be  a  name  for 
Christ;  why  it  should  be  a  name  for  Gocl.f  If  God  be 

*  '  It  may  not  be  improper  to  observe,  that  Luther  himself,  many 
years  afterwards,  had  so  good  an  opinion  of  it,  as  to  declare,  that  he 
could  not  revjew  any  one  of  his  writings  with  complete  satisfaction, 
unless  perhaps  his  Catechism  and  his  Bondage  of  the  Will.' 

f  See  John  i.  17-  xiv.  6.  Eph.  i.  13.  iv.  21.  Col.  15.  \  John  v.  20. 


himself  the  only  truth,  THE  TRUE  ONE  ;  if  Christ  be  his 
Image ;  if  the  counsel,  or  system  of  divine  operations, 
which  is  in  Him,  be  the  image  of  that  Image  ;  if  the  Gos 
pel,  or  doctrine  of  the  kingdom  of  God,  be  the  word  or 
declarer  of  that  counsel ;  we  can  have  no  difficulty  in 
understanding  why  one  and  the  same  term  should  be 
applied  to  all  these  various  subjects.  They  are  all,  in 
various  regards,  THE  TRUTH.  Nor  is  it  a  sound  objection 
to  say,  ( this  revered  man  did  not  see  it  there/  or,  (  that 
revered  man  did  not  see  it  there  ;'  it  may  be  there  still :  and, 
if  it  be  not  there,  God  has  come  short  of  His  object  in  reve 
lation,  which  is,  not  to  reveal  a  proposition,  but  to  reveal 
HIMSELF.  Let  every  one  so  study  the  Bible  as  to  get  to 
know  God  by  it ;  which  he  cannot  do,  except  he  realize 
what  is  there  written,  IN  HIM,  and  realize  it  as  a  whole : 
let  him  at  the  same  time  take  this  caution — he  is  to  get  his 
whole,  not  by  murdering  or  stifling  any  part,  but  by  giving 
its  fair,  well-considered  and  authenticated  meaning  to  each 
and  every  portion  of  the  testimony. 

The  DEFECTS  of  this  treatise,  then,  are  the  defects  of 
Luther's  theological  system.  It  was  not  given  to  him 
to  discern,  that  all  God's  dealings  with  creatures  are 
referable  to  one  vast  counsel,  devised,  ordained  and 
operated  for  the  accomplishment  of  one  vast  end;  that 
this  vast  end  is  the  manifestation  of  God ;  that  this  coun 
sel  is  in  all  its  parts  (not  in  that  only  which  respects 
man's  redemption,  but  every  jot  of  every  part)  laid,  con 
ducted  and  consummated  in  and  by  Christ — the  eternally 
predestinated,  and  in  time  very,  risen  GOD-MAN*  (see 
Part  ii.  Sect.  viii.  note  r.  Part  iii.  Sect,  xxxii.  note  s) ; 
much  less  was  it  given  to  him  to  discern  the  structure  and 
materials  of  that  counsel  by  which  God  is  effecting  this 
end — that  Adam,  meaning  not  the  personal  Adam  only, 
but  all  that  was  created  in  him,  even  the  whole  human 

*  See,  amongst  other  places,  John  i.  1—14.  1  John  i.  1,  2.  Coloss. 
i.  15—20.  Heb.  i.  Prov.  viii.  22—31.  JVlicah  v.  2. 

Iviii  PREFACE. 

race,  is  the  great  and  capital  subject  of  His  self-manifest 
ing  operations.  (See  Part  iii.  Sect,  xxviii.  notes  * v  x.  Sect, 
xxxvii.  note '  &c.)  Though  he  had  some  insight  into  the 
mystery  of  Christ's  person  (see  Part  i.  Sect.  iii.  j  also  Sect. 
xvi.  note  n) — that  He  was  verily  God  and  man,  a  coequal 
in  the  Trinity  made  man  through  the  Virgin's  impreg 
nation  by  the  Holy  Ghost,  he  was  not  fully  led  into  the 
mystery  that  his  person  is  constituted  by  taking  a  human 
person,  the  spiritualized  man  Jesus,  into  union  with  his 
divine  person,  and  that  he  has  been  acting  in  this  person,  as 
inspired,  not  by  his  own  godhead,  but  by  the  Holy  Ghost,* 
from  the  beginning — having  subsisted  as  the  glorified 
God-man  first  predestinately  and  secretly,  up  to  the  period 
of  his  ascension ;  and  now,  ever  since  that  period,  really 
and  declaredly — doing  the  will  of  the  Father  continually, 
not  his  own  will,  by  the  Holy  Ghost's  inspiration,  not  his 
own  ;  thus  exhibiting  the  Trinity  in  every  act  he  performs, 
which  is,  in  deed  and  in  truth,  every  act  of  God.  His 
human  person,  moreover,  was  marvellously  formed,  so  as 
to  be  at  the  same  time  both  son  of  Adam  and  son  of  God  ; 
the  Holy  Ghost's  impregnation  gave  him  a  spotless  soul ; 
the  daughter  of  Adam  gave  him  a  sinful  body  :  thus  he 
became  the  sinless  sinner ;  thus  he  that  knew  no  sin  waa 
made  sin  for  us,  and  was  in  all  points  tempted  like  as  we 
are,  without  sin  ;  that  same  Holy  Ghost  which  had  begotten 
him  sinless,  keeping  him  without  sin  amidst  all  the  tempt 
ations  of  the  world  the  flesh  and  the  devil,  until  he  had 
died  to  sin  once,  and  his  mortality  had  been  swallowed  up 
of  life. — Into  this  depth  of  the  mystery  of  Christ's  person,  f 

*  See  especially  Matt.  xii.  28.  Acts  i.  1,  2.  ii.  22  &c.  x.  38. 

f  The  essence  of  Christ's  person  is  God-man-hood :  He  is  God  the 
equal  of  the  Father  and  of  the  Holy  Ghost :  He  is  man  by  the  concep 
tion  of  the  Holy  Ghost  in  the  Virgin ;  He  is  God-man  in  one  substance, 
through  that  union  of  his  God  person  with  his  man  person,  which  is 
effected  by  the  agency  of  the  Holy  Ghost ;  Who,  being  one  in  essence 
with  his  God  person,  inbabiteth  that  manhood  of  His  which  he  hath 
generated.  What  is  that  manhood  so  generated?  Its  essence  is  a  pure, 

PREFACE.  llx 

of  which  the  essential  element  is  <  union  yet  distinct 
ness' — both  as  it  respects  his  divine  and  human  person, 
and  as  it  respects  his  oneness  with  us — it  was  not  given 
to  Luther  to  penetrate.  (See  as  before,  Part  ii.  Sect.  viii. 
note  r.  Part  iii.  Sect  xxii.  note  3 ;  also  Part  v.  Sect.  xxii. 
note  l.  Sect,  xxviii.  note  °.)  Again ;  although  it  was 
given  him  to  see  the  fact  of  man's  coining  into  the  world 
guilty  (which  he  ascribes  to  his  being  born  of  Adam  (see 
Part  v.  Sect,  xx.),  and  that  entire  vitiation  of  his  nature, 
as  brought  into  the  world  with  him,  which  renders  him 
both  vile  and  impotent  (a  fact  which  he  assumes,  and 
reasons  upon,  throughout  the  whole  of  his  treatise,  but 
see  especially  Part  iv.  Sect,  x.)  ;  he  was  not  led  to  see  the 
mystery  of  the  creation  and  fall  of  every  individual  of  the 
human  race,  male  and  female,  in  and  with  Adam.*  (See 
Part  iv.  Sect.  x.  note  z.  Part  v.  Sect.  xx.  note  p.)  Again  ; 
though  it  was  given  him  to  see  the  fact  that  there  are 
elect  and  reprobate  men,  God  having  predestinated  some  to 
everlasting  life  and  others  to  everlasting  death ;  he  had  no  in 
sight  into  that  covenant-standing  in  Christ,  and  the  appro- 
spotless,  sinless  spirit  inhabiting  (in  the  days  of  his  flesh,  and  whilst 
yet  it  was  flesh  and  blood)  a  sinful  body.  Romans  i.  3,  4.  rightly  inter 
preted,  confirms  this  satisfying  account  of  the  matter :  "  Who  was 
made  of  the  seed  of  David  according  to  the  flesh,  that  is,  the  body ; 
Who  was  declared  to  be  Son  of  God  with  power,  according  to  the  spirit 
of  holiness — that  is,  according  to  his  spirit  ivhich  was  holy  (the  oppo 
sition,  I  maintain,  is  between  his  flesh  and  his  spirit) — front  the  period 
of  his  resurrection  (ef  avaaTaacwv}.  The  whole  tenour  of  Scripture 
declaration  falls  in  with  this  view.  His  body  is  his  connecting  link 
with  manhood,  that  is,  with  Adam-hood :  Son  of  man  is  not  man 
merely  ;  man  any  how  begotten,  any  how  made,  any  how  existent  (as 
the  Lord  God  might  have  made  five  hundred  species  of  men)  ;  but  Son 
of  Adam,  one  who  has  his  being  SOME  HOW  through  and  of  the  stock  of 

*  The  notes  referred  to  are  explicit  and  full ;  but  take  an  illustration, 
which  may  be  of  use  to  some,  1.  from  the  case  of  Rebekah,  Genesis  xxv. 
21 — 23.  (.  .  .  "  Two  nations  are  in  thy  womb,  and  two  manner  of  people 
shall  be  separated  from  thy  bowels) ;  and  2.  from  Heb.  vii.  9,  10.  (For 
he  was  yet  in  the  loins  of  his  Father,  when  &c.) 


priateness  of  His  work,  consequently,  to  the  elect,  which 
renders  God  just  in  acting  a  difference  between  them,  whilst 
the  original  and  eternal  separation  is  of  a  law  beyond  just 
ice — even  of  that  sovereignty  which  knows  no  limit  but 
omnipotency.  Thus  he  was  not  only  left,  through  his  igno 
rance  of  God's  plan  and  counsel,  without  any  insight  into 
that  blessed  and  glorious  principle  which  reconciles  the  spi 
ritual  mind  to  the  severity  of  his  appointments — for  how, 
else,  shall  that  paramount  end  of  God-manifestation  be 
accomplished  ?— but  he  was  even  obliged  to  give  up  the 
justice  of  God  (which,  both  verily  and  discernibly,  is  with 
out  a  flaw  in  this  procedure)  and  to  take  refuge  in  a  most 
pernicious  falsehood,  '  that  we  know  nothing  about  God's 
justice,  and  must  be  content  to  be  ignorant  what  it  is,  till 
.THE  DAY  disclose  it.'  Why,  if  justice,  truth  and  all  other 
'moral  excellencies  be  not  in  Him  essentially  what  they 
are  in  us,  and  according  to  our  spiritual  conceptions  of 
HIM,  '  chaos  is  come  again:'  we  know  nothing — nothing 
'  of  God — He  has  revealed  himself  in  vain.  (See  Part  iii. 
Sect,  xxviii.  notes  t  v  x.  Sect,  xxxvii.  note  '.  Part  iv. 
Sect.  xv.  note  n.  Part  v.  Sect,  xxxiii.  note  e.)  Again ; 
whilst  it  was  given  him  to  see  something  of  the  freeness 
and  completeness  of  a  sinner's  justification  in  and  by 
Christ,  it  was  impossible,  from  the  very  nature  of  that 
ignorance  which  hath  already  been  ascribed  to  him,  that 
he  should  see  it  correctly  and  perfectly  :  he  neither  saw 
the  eternal  justification  which  they  received  in  Christ 
Jesus,  distinctly,  personally  and  individually,  before  the 
world  began — God  engaging  to  raise  them  up  to  Him  as 
his  accepted  ones,  for  the  sake  of  the  merits  of  His  death ; 
nor  did  he  see  with  precision  what  constituted  their  atone 
ment  made  in  time ;  nor  did  he  see  the  state  into  which 
they  were  hereby  brought,  and  have  from  the  beginning 
been  dealt  with  as  though  they  had  been  meritoriously 
brought — a  state  of  gracious  acceptance,  in  which  they 
can  bring  forth,  as  He  is  pleased  to  enable  them,  and 


actually  do  bring  forth,  as  He  is  pleased  to  enable  them, 
fruit  unto  God :  nor  did  he  see  that,  whilst  their  crown  is 
a  free  crown,  the  Lord  has  so  arranged,  and  so  brings  it 
to  pass,  that  it  shall  be  a  righteous  thing  in  God  to  put  a 
difference  between  the  righteous  and  the  wicked ;  there 
being  a  mind  in  the  one,  which  is  correlative  to  the  mani 
festation  He  has  made  and  is  making  of  himself  in  his 
new-creation  kingdom,  whereas  in  the  other  there  is 
nothing  but  enmity  to  Him,  as  so  displayed.  Again ; 
though  he  had  some  insight  into  the  nature  of  Holy- 
Ghost-influences,  the  other  parts  of  his  ignorance  were 
incompatible  with  true'  and  correct  knowledge  here.  He 
did  not  see  that  the  gift  of  the  Holy  Ghost  is,  in  fact,  the 
gift  of  His  personal  presence  and  agency;  altogether  a 
super-creation  gift,  a  gift  in  Christ;  had,  when  and  as 
God  has  been  pleased  to  arrange  to  give  it — had  therefore, 
when  it  be  good  for  his  people  to  have,  and  withheld,  as 
to  manifestation,  when  it  be  good  that  they  have  it  not ; 
in  nowise  contributing  to  the  justification,  properly  so 
called,  of  a  sinner,  though  enabling  the  manifestedly  justi 
fied  to  shew  their  justification.  When  I  say,  *  in  nowise 
contributing,'  I  mean  that  none  of  their  acts  performed 
by  and  in  the  Spirit,  are  what  contribute  the  least  particle 
to  their  acceptance.  They  are  foreknown  freely,  pre 
destinated  freely,  called  freely,  justified  freely  (that  is, 
have  their  absolution  from  all  sin  testified  to  them  freely) 
glorified  freely;  whilst  it  is  the  Holy  Ghost  who  alone 
enables,  nay  constrains  them  to  believe,  thereby  exhibit 
ing  in  their  persons  an  obedience  to  the  divine  command 
ment,*  and  putting  a  badge  upon  them  which  declares 

*  God  has  given  a  commandment,  "  Repent  ye,  and  believe  the  Gos 
pel;"  "  And  this  is  his  commandment,  that  \ve  believe  on  the  name  &c." 
This  command  is  congruous  to  that  manifestation  which  he  makes  of 
himself  in  his  super-creation  kingdom  ;  say  rather,  is  congruous  to  what 
He  himself  is — He  being,  even  as  He  hath  hereby  shewn  himself  to  be, 
the  God,  who,  in  perfect  harmony  and  consistency  with  all  other  per 
fections,  is  love,  grace  and  mercy.  The  giving  of  this  commandment, 


that  they  are  in  the  number  of  those  for  whom  Christ 
according  to  the  will  of  the  Father — thus  evinced  to  be 
the  will  of  the  sacred  and  coequal  Three — in  due  time  died. 
Luther's  ignorance  on  this  subject  led  him  to  speak  of 
Adam's  having  the  Spirit,  of  the  Spirit's  being  our  law- 
fuliiller,  and  of  the  Jewish  church,  as  not  having  been 
justified  by  the  law,  because  they  had  not  the  Spirit.  (See 
Part  iv.  Sect.  x.  note  z.  Part  v.  Sect.  x.  note  z.)  As  if  the 
Spirit  of  grace  were  a  creational,  natural,  or  legal  possession! 
Again ;  whilst  he  saw  the  Law  to  be  a  condemning  pre 
cept,  he  did  not  understand  its  real  nature,  form  and 
design  j  that  it  was  an  interpolation,  typical  in  all  its 
parts,  preparatory,  temporary;  whose  glory  was  to  be 
done  away.  (See  Part  iii.  Sect.  xxiv.  note  '.  Part  v.  Sect. 
x.  xi.  xii.  xiii.)  This  ignorance  led  him  to  bring  it  back 
upon  the  people  of  God,  instead  of  banishing  it  for  ever  ; 
to  heap  burdens  with  his  left  hand,  which  he  had  hardly 
removed  with  his  right.  He  was  not  led  to  apprehend  the 
distinct  nature,  as  well  as  end,  of  Law  obedience  and  Gospel 
obedience :  that  obedience  to  the  Law,  which  he  sub 
stantially,  if  not  in  word,  demanded,  is  not  only  an  obeying 
for  life  instead  of  an  acting  of  the  life  given ;  but  is  even 
a  denying  of  God  to  be  what  He  is  and  is  manifesting 
himself  to  be,  whilst  we  profess  to  be  believing  in  Him, 
and  serving  Him.* 

and  the  receiving  of  his  people  according  to  it,  falls  in  with  his  great 
design  of  God  manifestation,  by  drawing  out,  as  it  does,  what  is  in  man, 
and  shewing  HIM  as  dealing  with  what  is  so  drawn  out,  according  to 
justice  and  equity. — It  no  way  disparages  the  freeness  of  the  grace,  whilst 
it  manifests  to  the  uttermost  the  justness  of  the  indignation. — Which 
of  the  reprobate  disobeys  the  Gospel  edict,  because  he  counts  himself 
to  be  a  reprobate  ?  and  which  of  them  has  any  right  to  deal  with  him 
self  as  such  ? 

*  The  law  is  a  perfect  transcript  of  creation  man's  duty,  in  enigma  ; 
typical  emblem  of  Christ  as  the  unblemished  Lamb,  and  of  the  law  of  the 
Spirit  of  life  which  is  laid  up  in  Him  ("  Your  lamb  shall  be  without 
blemish,"  Exod.  xii.  5.  ..."  And  put  the  tables  in  the  ark  which  I  had 
made,"  Deut.  x.  5.  ..."  A  new  covenant ...  I  will  put  my  laws  into 

PREFACE.  Ixiii 

These  are  some  of  the  principal  DEFECTS  of  Luther's 
theology  :*  which  he  manifests,  as  might  be  expected,  in 

their  mind,  etc."  Heb.  viii.  8 — 11.),  and  real  teacher  that  Adam  cannot 
obey  his  Maker;  say  rather,  that  creature,  a*  creature,  cannot  fulfil  the 
law  of  his  sort.  But  grace  has  a  new  MIND  to  study,  and  is  cast  into 
a  mould  correspondent  to  that  mind — brought  to  a  mind  which  is  of 
much  higher  tone,  and  of  other  string,  than  that  which  God  taught  and 
demanded  at  Sinai. 

*  I  would  be  understood  as  not  pretending  to  make  full  and  accurate 
references  in  proof  of  Luther's  seelngs  and  not  scelngs  (which  would, 
in  fact,  be  to  analyze  and  anatomize  the  whole  of  his  work),  but  merely 
to  give  a  hint  at  each. — And  now,  I  well  know  how  I  shall  be  arraigned 
of  arrogancy,  for  having  dared  to  controvert  his  positions,  nay  more,  to 
judge  and  to  condemn  him.  1  can  only  say,  as  Luther  did  at  Worms  ;  '  Here 
I  stand.    I  cannot  do  otherwise.    May  God  help  me.   Amen.' — It  is  the 
fashion  to  speak  of  Luther  and  the  rest  of  the  reformers  as  little  less 
than  inspired  men,  and  of  the  cera  of  the  Reformation,  as  the  season  of 
an  effusion  of  the  Spirit :  the  same  sort  of  expression  has  been  applied 
also  to  later  times  ;  to  a  supposed,  and,  as  I  will  hope,  real  revival  of 
religion  which  took  place  in  Whitfield's  time.     Such  expressions  are 
unwarranted  :  I  know  but  of  one  effusion,  when,  "  being  by  the  right 
hand  of  God  exalted,  and  having  received  of  the  Father  the  promise  of 
the  Holy  Ghost,  Jesus  did  shed  forth  that  which  was  seen  and  heard," 
on  the  day  of  Pentecost.     Granting,  therefore,  what  I   would  by  no 
means  dispute,  that  it  has  been  the  Lord's  blessed  will  from  the  begin 
ning  to  make  peculiar  display  of  his  Spirit  at  certain  seasons-^-as   in 
private  and  personal  experience,  so  in  the  community  of  his  people — 
and  not  sticking  at  a  word,  but  calling  this,  if  you  please,  EFFUSION  ; 
what  is  the  extent  of  the  benefit?     It  is  not  meant  that  the  atmosphere 
is  impregnated  with  spiritual  influences,  so  that  all  who  live  at  such  a 
period,  and  within  the  circle  of  it,   are  made  partakers  of  the  boon. 
Else,  whence  come  the  Caiaphases  and  the  Alexanders,  the  Felixes  and 
the  Caesars  ?     It  goes  no  farther,  than  that  certain  persons  are  pecu 
liarly  taught,  strengthened  and  comforted  at  these  seasons  ;  and  that  the 
number  so  instructed  and  enlivened  is  greater  than  in  ordinary  times. 
It  does  not  follow,  that  the  blessed  Spirit  hath,  at  these  seasons,  taught 
and  shewn  all  that  ever  is  to  be  taught  and  shewn  of  God  and  of  his 
truth.     The  Uible  and  other  records  shew,  that  there  has,  on  the  con 
trary,  been  a  progression  in  His  teaching ;  in  the  manner  of  revealing, 
if  not  in  the  matter  revealed.     Though  all  truth  be  contained  in,  "  And 
I  will  put  enmity  between  thee  and  the  woman  &c."  this  truth  has  been 
made  plainer,  in  various  degrees,  since  the  beginning  ;  to  Abraham,  to 
Moses,  to  David,  to  the  Prophets,  the  Evangelists  and  the  Apostles. 
It  would  not  be  adventurous  to  affirm,  that,  as  the  Prophets  spake  to  as 
well  as  of  the  Apostles'  days ;  so  the  Apostles  have  spoken  to  as  well 


this  elaborate  treatise.  I  have  dealt  fairly,  as  I  believe, 
both  with  his  excellencies  and  with  his  defects.  It  has 
been  my  endeavour  to  give  the  most  faithful  rendering  I 
could  to  his  whole  text,  and  to  every  word  and  syllable  of 
it.  His  excellencies,  which,  if  I  have  succeeded  in  my 
endeavour,  cannot  be  hidden,  I  have  made  yet  more  con 
spicuous  by  extricating  each  point  of  his  argument,  and 
specifying  it  distinctly,  with  the  numbers  1.2.  3.  &c.  pre 
fixed.  His  errors  and  defects  1  have  endeavoured  to 
obviate  and  to  supply,  severally,  by  telling  out  THE  TRUTH. 
My  statements  are  ample,  but  I  am  not  aware  that  they 
are  prolix.  I  have  desired  to  consult  brevity;  and,  in 
some  instances,  have  obtained,  as  I  fear,  the  reward  of 

of  later  times  ;  times  yet  for  to  come.  Is  it  sacrilege  or  blasphemy  to 
say,  that  what  Paul  and  John  wrote  and  spake  shall  be  better  under 
stood,  and  is  even  now  better  understood,  generally  in  the  church,  than 
it  was  by  their  own  immediate  hearers  and  readers,  if  not  by  themselves. 
It  would  be  preposterous  surely  to  affirm,  that  nothing  lias  been  added 
to  the  store  of  evangelical  learning,  since  Luther's  time,  by  the  dis 
covery  of  additional  manuscripts,  and  by  the  collation  of  them ;  by  the 
improved  knowledge  of  the  original  languages  ;  by  the  illustrations  of 
travellers,  and  other  sources  of  intelligence,  inquiry  and  communi 
cation.  Whilst  all  other  knowledge  is  progressive,  why  should  biblical 
knowledge  be  stationary  ?  Has  it,  in  fact,  been  so  ?  is  it  even  yet  so  ? 
And  it  is  plain,  this  remaik  does  not  apply  to  the  elucidation  of  pro 
phecy  exclusively  ;  it  extends  to  the  counsel  and  truth-  of  God.  Take 
our  fourth  Article  as  a  specimen.  In  Luther's  and  our  reformers'  time, 
I  suppose  every  body  expected  to  rise  with  a  flesh  and  blood  body,  as 
that  Article  speaks — in  spite  of  Paul's  clear  words.  But  now,  we  have 
been  taught  with  what  sort  of  a  body  the  Lord  rose,  and  what  sort  of 
an  one  we  may  look  to  be  clothed  with,  ourselves. —  (See  1  Cor.  xv. 
44 — 54.  See  also  Bishop  Horsley's  NINE  DISCOUKSKS  ON  OUR  LORD'S 
RESURRECTION.) — These  hints  must  be  my  defence  iigainst  the  supposed 
arrogancy  of  impugning  and  correcting  Luther.  The  Reformation  did 
not  absorb  the  spiritual  Sun,  any  more  than  former  or  later  periods  had, 
or  have  done  so.  He  still  continues  to  shoot  forth  his  rays,  when  and  us 
it  pleascth  Him  ;  and  those  on  whom  they  fall  have  already  received  their 
direction  how  to  deal  with  them,  from  his  own  mouth,  where  He  says, 
"  No  man,  when  he  hath  lighted  a  candle,  covereth  it  with  a  vessel,  or 
putteth  it  under  a  bed ;  but  setteth  it  on  a  candlestick,  that  they  which 
enter  in  may  see  the  light."  Luke  viii.  16. 


laboured  brevity,  by  becoming  obscure.    But  I  hope  not 
often  so. 

The  reader  must  have  seen  already,  that,  if  I  was  to 
publish  Luther,  it  must  be  with  NOTES.  I  honestly  believe, 
that  he  would  be  unintelligible  without;  as  well  as  defective 
and  fallacious.  I  have  therefore  adhered  rigidly  to  two 
simple  principles  throughout,  '  Luther,  all  Luther,  and 
nothing  but  Luther,  in  the  text;  my  own  sentiments, 
whether  agreeing  with,  or  contradicting  his,  in  the  notes/ 

Now,  if  it  be  asked  why,  in  all  wonder,  have  you 
thought  it  worth  your  while  to  publish  Luther  at  all,  when 
you  pronounce  his  sentiments  to  be  both  defective  and. 
erroneous ;  I  am  not  without  an  answer.  With  all  its  defects 
and  errors,  confessed  and  professed,  I  count  this  a  truly 
estimable,  magnificent  and  illustrious  treatise.  I  publish 
it  therefore,  1.  Because  I  deem  the  subject  all-important. 
2.  Because  I  know  no  other  work  of  value  upon  this  all- 
important  subject,  which  discusses  it  by  the  same  sort  of 
argumentation.  3.  Because  Luther's  name  is  gold  with 
some,  and  will,  I  hope,  beget  readers.  4.  Because  his 
right  is  so  very  right,  and  so  very  forcible.  5.  Because  his 
very  errors  and  defects  throw  some  rays  of  light  upon 
their  corrector  and  supplier,  claim  and  obtain  a  hearing 
for  him,  and  open  a  way  to  the  more  successful  march 
and  entry  of  truth.  The  wise  Paley  remarks,  that,  if  he 
could  but  make  his  pupils  sensible  of  the  precise  nature  of 
the  difficulty,  he  was  half  way  towards  conquering  it  Let 
the  reader  see  what  sort  of  a  God,  and  of  a  Christ,  and  of 
a  salvation,  Luther,  when  brought  into  day,  sets  before 
him ;  and  my  expectation  is,  he  will  cry  out  for  something 

I  have  said  Luther's  name  is  gold,  and  Luther,  as  I 
trust,  will  beget  readers.  Do  not  let  it  be  supposed  that 
I  am  therefore  leaning  upon  Luther's  arm  for  the  support  of 
truth.  That  be  far  from  me.  I  disclaim,  as  he  did,  man's 
authority ;  what  he  protested  against  the  Fathers,  that  I 


protest  against  him,  and  against  every  uninspired  teacher. 
The   fair   and  legitimate   use   of  human   authority  is  to 
awaken  attention.     What  so  eminent  a  man  of  God  has 
said,  is  worth  listening  to,  is  worth  weighing :  but,  could 
he  now  be  called  before  us,  he  would  say,  (  Weigh  it  in  the 
balances  of  Scripture  ;  I  desire  to  be  received  no  farther 
than  as  I  speak  according  to  the  oracles  of  God.'     High 
respect  is  due  to  the  opinions  of  a  godly,  God-raised,  God- 
owned  man — but  he  is  man,  fallible  man  at  last ;  and  this 
man  carried  the  mark  of  his  fallibility  with  him  to  his 
grave,  yea,  has  left  it  not  in  his  writings  only,  but  as  a 
frontlet  between  the  eyes  of  his  blindly-devoted  followers — 
who  consubstantiate  with  him.     a  To  the  law  and  to  the 
testimony" — Well !  but  neither  will  that  appeal  ensure 
the  knowledge  of  THE  TRUTH  :  all  do  not  know  THE  TRUTH 
who  search  the  Scriptures.     It  is  the  Scripture  as  we  be 
lieve  it  to  be  opened  to  us  by  the  Holy  Ghost,  \vhich  is 
the  guide  of  our  spirit ;  and,  whilst  we  are  bound  to  yield  a 
certain  deference  and  obedience  to  the  decisions  of  a  law 
fully  constituted  human  tribunal — submitting  to  its  inflic 
tions  even  to  the  destruction,  not  of  our  worldly  substance 
only,  but  of  our  flesh — our  spirit  owns  no  fetters  but  those 
which  the  Spirit  imposes. 

I  commend  this  work  therefore,  both  as  it  respects 
Luther  and  as  it  respects  my  own  part  in  it,  to  the  candid, 
patient  and  anxious  consideration  of  the  reader  j  earnestly 
requesting  him  to  compare  what  is  here  written  with  the 
Scriptures,  and  carrying  with  him  into  that  comparison  a 
prayer  which  I  here  breathe  out  for  him,  f  Lord,  grant  me 
to  understand  thy  word ;  preserve  me  from  concluding 
rashly  against  any  thing  that  is  written  in  this  book,  how 
ever  it  may  contradict  my  preconceived  opinion ;  and 
what  is  true  in  it  enable  THOU  me  to  welcome,  digest, 
hold  fast  and  enjoy  !' 

I  have  already  hinted  that  my  desire  has  been  to  accom 
plish  a  faithful  translation.  I  believe  the  Lord  has  given 

PREFACE.  Ixvii 

me  my  desire.  I  need  scarcely  say  I  have  found  it  a  diffi 
cult  undertaking.  Every  scholar  knows  that  the  work  of 
translation  is  one  of  great  nicety.  There  is  in  every  lan 
guage  some  one  word  which  more  precisely  than  any  other 
corresponds  with  the  given  one ;  but  it  may  often  be  the 
rumination  of  many  hours  to  find  that  word.  This  has 
been  much  of  my  toil.  Luther's  work,  above  most  others, 
demanded  it :  he  abounds  in  emphatic  and  distinctive 
words.  His  meaning  also,  as  I  have  said,  is  not  always  un 
ambiguous.  He  wrote,  too,  in  a  dead  language  :  in  which, 
though  he  doubtless  tried  his  best  on  this  occasion,  and 
was  complimented  by  having  it  supposed  that  the  elegant 
pen  of  Melancthon  had  assisted  him,  he  was  but  a  clumsy 
and  middle-aged  composer.  He  has  proverbs,  moreover, 
without  end ;  some  German,  some  classical.  '  The  Ger 
mans,  you  know  (as  a  very  learned  friend,  whom  I  con 
sulted  in  one  of  my  difficulties,  obligingly  writes  to  me), 
are  great  proverbialists,  and  many  of  their  allusions  are 
now  lost.  I  have  searched  a  great  variety  of  authors,  on  a 
similar  inquiry'  (he  was  kind  enough  to  do  so  now),  '  but 
in  vain.' — /  too,  in  a  much  more  humble  way,  have  made 
some  search  and  a  great  deal  of  inquiry,  but  have  learned 
.nothing:  witness,  the  Wolf  and  the  Nightingale  (p.  79), 
the  beast  which  eats  itself  (p.  196),  and  the  palm  and 
the  gourd  (p.  373).  My  greatest  perplexity  has  arisen 
from  his^^i  some  instances  mixing  the  old  with  the 
new,  an^^ing  me,  like  a  will  o'  the  wisp,  to  go  after 
him,  because  I  fancied  I  had  a  lantern  to  guide  me,  but 
soon  found  myself  left  in  darkness. 

I  fear  my  notes  will  incur  the  censure  of  two  different 
sorts  of  reader  ;  each  of  whom  will  account  many  of  them 
superfluous.  I  can  only  say  none  of  them  have  been  inserted 
without  thought  and  design.  To  the  learned  I  have  been 
anxious  to  vindicate  my  accuracy ;  to  the  unlearned  I  have 
been  anxious  to  give  such  helps  as  might  enable  them  to 
understand  me.  The  learned  must  bear  the  burden  of 


Ixviii  PREFACE. 

my  laborious  dulness,  and  the  unlearned,  of  my  Latin  and 

With  respect  to  my  theology,  I  shall  not  wonder  if  I 

appear  more  positive  and  dogmatical  to  some,  than  even 
Luther  himself.  Let  me  be  understood  here.  Whilst  I 
make  no  claim  to  infallibility,  but  desire  only  that  my 
assertions  may  be  brought  to  the  standard  of  Scripture,  I 
desire  to  give  my  reader  the  full  benefit  of  the  firmness 
and  deliberateness  with  which  I  have  formed,  entertained, 
and  advanced  my  opinion,  by  omitting  all  such  qualifying 
and  hesitative  restrictions,  as  ( if  I  mistake  not,'  '  I  believe 
it  will  be  found,'  (  I  would  venture  to  affirm  &c.'  Such 
subjects  require  a  mind  made  up  in  the  instructor ;  and, 
if  he  would  not  invite  others  to  doubt,  his  language  must 
breathe  the  indubitative  confidence  which  he  feels.  Be 
sides,  there  is  an  energy,  as  well  as  an  importance  in 
truth,  which  inspires,  even  as  it  demands,  boldness. 

I  cannot  take  leave  of  my  reader  without  desiring  him 
to  acknowledge  his  obligations  to  the  late  venerable  Dean 
of  Carlisle,  Dr.  Milner,  to  whose  completion  of  his  bro 
ther's  valuable  history  I  am  indebted,  almost  exclusively, 
for  my  account  of  Luther :  a  work  of  great  research ;  in 
which,  by  ransacking  a  vast  body  of  original  documents, 
and  drawing  light  from  sources  which  former  historians  had 
been  content  to  leave  unexplored,  he  has  vindicated, 
illustrated  and  adorned  this  dauntless  standarclsJiearer  of 
the  Reformation. 


IN  the  following  work,  it  has  been  my  endeavour  to  assist 
the  unlearned  and  those  who  may  not  have  access  to 
books,  by  giving  some  account  of  the  various  persons 
named  in  it  by  the  author.  I  believe  I  have  been  tolerably 
consistent  in  doing  so,  but  am  aware  that  I  have  left  two 
capital  writers  without  note  or  comment.  I  would  aim 
at  uniformity  therefore,  by  supplying  this  deficiency  here  : 
Plato  is  one  of  these,  Augustine  is  the  other.  Not  only 
their  celebrity,  but  the  frequent  reference  made  to  them 
by  Luther  (especially  to  the  latter),  would  render  my 
omission  inexcusable. 

1.  The  great  PLATO  then  (for  such  he  truly  was),  seems 
to  have  been  no  favourite  with  Luther ;  who  was  deeply 
conscious  of  the  mischievous  tendency  of  his  writings  as 
fostering  a  spirit  of  proud  self-sufficiency,  and  as  having 
cooperated  with  other  sources  of  error  to  contaminate  the 
truth,  by  exhibiting  some  semblances  of  its  glory  and 
beauty.  In  Part  iv.  Sect.  Hi.  he  speaks  contemptuously 
of  his  '  Chaos' ;  and  in  Part  ii.  Sect.  v.  of  his  '  Ideas.'  This 
Plato,  Mnvever,  appears  to  have  been  led  into  some  vast 
conceptions  of  God  (whence  he  derived  them,  is  another 
question) — his  nature,  will,  power  and  operations — into 
some  exalted  aspirations  after  communion  with  him—and 
into  some  elaborate  attempts  to  purify  and  elevate  the 
morals  of  his  countrymen.  Like  others  who  speculated 
upon  God,  without  God's  guidance,  he  made  matter  eternal 
as  well  as  God,  though  he  gave  God  a  supremacy  over  it, 
and  ascribed  to  him  both  the  modelling  of  the  world,  and 


the   commanding   of  it  into  being.     Doubtless,   it  is   a 
strange    jumble    which    he    makes  —  the    world    having 
a  soul,  nay  a  compound  soul;   man  with  his  two  souls, 
and  second  causes  placing  a  material  body  round  a  germ 
of  immortality  ! — but  in  his  '  chaos/  wild  as  it  is,  and  that 
universal  soul  which  was  plunged  into  it  and  by  its  agi 
tation  brought  out  order,  we  see  the  vestige  of  corrupted 
truth ;  in  his  ( ideas,'  or  *  first  forms  of  things/  we  see 
something  yet  more  nearly  approaching  to  reality — even 
the  eternal  God  devising,  ordaining  and  protruding  every 
thing   which   exists ;    and  in  his   ideal  world  with   God 
reigning  in  its  highest  height,  as  compared  with  the  visi 
ble  system  and  its  sun,  we  catch  a  faint  glimpse  of  the 
invisible  glory,  and  of  that  repose  which  shall  be  found  in 
the  uninterrupted  contemplation  of  the  reposing  God. — I 
am  not  for  bringing  men  back  to  Platonism,  but  for  letting 
them  see,  that  even  pagan  Plato  had  a  conception  and  a 
relish  beyond  many  on  whom  the  true  light  has  shone  ;  and 
for  leading  them  to  understand,  that  revelation  and  tradition 
have  extended  much  more  widely  than  they  are  aware  of; 
so  that  it  ought  not  to  appear  strange,  if  even  heathens  are 
dealt  with  on  a  ground  of  knowledge  which  we  may  falsely 
have  supposed  that  they  had  not  the  means  of  possessing. 
(See  Part  iii.  Sect,  xxviii.  note  v.  Part  v.  Sect.  xxvi.  note c.) 
(  The  notion  of  a  Trinity,  more  or  less  removed  from  the 
purity  of  the  Christian  faith,  is  found  to  have  been  a  lead 
ing  principle  in  all  the  ancient  schools  of  philosophy,  and 
in   the  religions  of  almost  all  nations;  and  traces  of  an 
early  popular  belief  of  it  appear  even  in  the  abominable 
rites  of  idolatrous  worship.     If  reason  was  insufficient  for 
this  great  discovery,  what  could  be  the  means  of  inform 
ation  but  what  the  Platonists  themselves  assign,  OeoTrapa- 
COTO?  GeoXorym ;  f  a  theology  delivered  from  the  Gods,'  i.  e.  a 
revelation.      This  is  the  account  which  Platonists,  who 
were  no  Christians,  have  given  of  the  origin  of  their  mas 
ter's  doctrine.   But  from  what  revelation  could  they  derive 


their  information,  who  lived  before  the  Christian,  and  had 
no  light  from  the  Mosaic  ?  For  whatever  some  of  the 
early  Fathers  may  have  imagined,  there  is  no  evidence 
that  Plato  or  Pythagoras  were  at  all  acquainted  with  the 
Mosaic  writings  :  not  to  insist  that  the  worship  of  a  Trinity 
is  traced  to  an  earlier  age  than  that  of  Plato  or  of  Pytha 
goras,  or  even  of  Moses.  Their  information  could  only 
be  drawn  from  traditions  founded  upon  earlier  revelations ; 
from  the  scattered  fragments  of  the  ancient  patriarchal 
creed ;  that  creed  which  was  universal  before  the  defec 
tion  of  the  first  idolaters,  which  the  corruptions  of  idola 
try,  gross  and  enormous  as  they  were,  could  never  totally 
obliterate.' — (  What  Socrates  said  of  him,  what  Plato 
writ,  and  the  rest  of  the  heathen  philosophers  of  several 
nations,  is  all  no  more  than  the  twilight  of  revelation,  after 
the  sun  of  it  was  set  in  the  race  of  Noah.'  (See  Horsley's 
Letters  to  Priestley,  pp.  49,  50.) 

I  am  the  rather  surprised  that  Luther  should  fleer  so 
roughly  at  Plato,  because  his  beloved  Augustine  acknow 
ledged  obligations  to  him.  '  And  first,  as  thou  MTouldest 
shew  me  how  thou  resistest  the  proud,  and  givest  grace 
to  the  humble ;  and  how  great  thy  mercy  is  shewn  to 
be  in  the  way  of  humility;  thou  procuredst  for  me,  by 
means  of  a  person  highly  inflated  with  philosophical  pride, 
some  of  the  books  of  Plato  translated  into  Latin,  in  which 
I  read  passages  concerning  the  divine  word  similar  to  those 
in  the  first  chapter  of  St  John's  Gospel ;  in  which  his 
eternal  divinity  was  exhibited,  but  not  his  incarnation,  his 
atonement,  his  humiliation,  and  glorification  of  his  human 
nature.  For  thou  hast  hid  these  things  from  the  wise  and 
prudent,  and  revealed  them  unto  babes  ;  that  men  might 
come  to  thee  weary  and  heavy  laden,  and  that  thou 

mightest  refresh  them Thus  did  I  begin  to  form  better 

views  of  the  divine  nature,  even  from  Plato's  writings,  as 
thy  people  of  old  spoiled  the  Egyptians  of  their  gold, 
because,  whatever  good  there  is  iu  any  tiling,  is  all  thy 


own  j  and  at  the  same  time  I  was  enabled  to  escape  the 
evil  which  was  in  those  books,  and  not  to  attend  to  the 
idols  of  Egypt/ — His  historian  remarks  upon  this, ( there  is 
something  divinely  spiritual  in  the  manner  of  his  deliver 
ance.  That  the  Platonic  books  also  should  give  the  first 
occasion  is  very  remarkable  j  though  I  apprehend  the  Latin 
translation,  which  he  saw,  had  improved  on  Plato,  by  the 
mixture  of  something  scriptural,  according  to  the  manner 
of  the  Ammonian  philosophers.'* — Thus  Plato,  it  seems, 
could  hold  the  candle  to  an  Augustine,  whilst  he  was  him 
self  far  from  the  light :  but  there  was  truth,  we  see,  and 
discriminating  truth,  mixed  and  blended  with  his  false 

2.  AUGUSTINE'S  errors  were  those  of  Luther,  increased 

*  Milner  does  not  appear  to  have  understood  what  the  investigating 
Horsley  has  made  plain,  that  neither  was  Plato  an  inventor,  neither  were 
the  Ammonians  scriptural  improvers  of  human  inventions,  but  both 
Plato  and  those  from  whom  he  copied  retailers,  in  fact,  of  mutilated 
revelations.  '  These  notions  were  by  no  means  peculiar  to  the  Platonic 
school :  the  Platonists  pretended  to  be  no  more  than  the  expositors  of  a 
more  ancient  doctrine ;  which  is  traced  from  Plato  to  Parmenides ; 
from.  Parmenides  to  his  masters  of  the  Pythagorean  sect ;  from  the 
Pythagoreans  to  Orpheus,  the  earliest  of  the  Grecian  mystagogues  ; 
from  Orpheus  to  the  secret  lore  of  the  Egyptian  priests  ;  in  which  the 
foundations  of  the  Orphic  theology  were  laid.  Similar  notions  of  a 
triple  principle  prevailed  in  the  Persian  and  Chaldean  theology  ;  and 
vestiges  even  of  the  worship  of  a  Trinity  were  discernible  in  the 
Roman  superstition  in  a  very  late  age ;  this  worship  the  Romans  had 
received  from  their  Trojan  ancestors.  For  the  Trojans  brought  it  with 
them  into  Italy  from  Phrygia.  In  Phrygia  it  was  introduced  by  Dar- 
danus  as  early  as  in  the  ninth  century  after  Noah's  flood.  Dardanus 
carried  it  with  him  from  Samothrace,  where  the  personages  that  were 
the  objects  of  it  were  worshipped  under  the  heathen  name  of  the 
Cabirim.  .  .  .  '  The  Great  or  Mighty  .ones  :'  for  that  is  the  import  of  the 
Hebrew  name.  And  of  the  like  import  is  their  Latin  appellation, 

Penates Thus  the  joint  worship  of  Jupiter,  Juno  and  Minerva, 

the  triad  of  the  Roman  capital,  is  traced  to  that  of  the  THREE  MIGHTY 
ONES  in  Samothrace ;  which  was  established  in  that  island,  at  what 
precise  time  it  is  impossible  to  determine,  but  earlier,  if  Eusebius  may 
be  credited,  than  the  days  of  AbraAani.' — Horsley's  Letters  to  Priestley, 
pp.  47—49. 


by  an  ignorance  of  the  doctrine  of  justification :  he  had 
the  elements  of  this  doctrine,  it  is  said,  but  he  never  put 
them  together.  His  case  was  a  very  remarkable  one. 
After  a  profligate  youth,  in  which  he  had  run  to  great 
excess  of  riot  j  after  having  infected  himself  with  the 
poison  of  the  Manichees  (see  Part  iv.  Sect.  ix.  note  v. 
Sect.  xi.  note  h);  after  having  sold  himself  into  the  ser 
vice  of  vain-glory,  lasciviousnes,  pride  and  atheism,  he 
was  made  to  bow  down  before  the  true  God,  and  to  kiss 
his  Son.  God  had  hereby  signally  and  specially  prepared 
him  to  be  the  champion  of  grace  in  opposition  to  Pela- 
gianism ;  which  started  up  in  his  days  a  many-varied 
monster.  By  degrees  he  was  led  to  use  his  own  expe 
rience  as  an  interpreter  of  Scripture ;  and  though,  as  his 
historian  tells  us,  St.  Paul's  doctrine  of  predestination  was 
a  doctrine  that,  with  him,  followed  experimental  religion, 
as  a  shadow  follows  the  substance — it  was  not  embraced 
for  its  own  sake — yet  follow  him  it  did ;  and  he  was  per 
suaded  of  it,  and  embraced  it,  and  maintained  it  in  much, 
though  not  all  of  its  vigour,  against  its  antagonists.  In 
fact,  how  could  he  defend  the  doctrine  of  grace,  as  his 
historian  terms  it  (meaning  thereby  not  grace  in  its  ful 
ness,  but  only  the  gift  of  the  Spirit),  without  it  ?  If  his 
historian  be  correct,  we  have  in  him  a  confirmation  of  the 
salutary  effect  of  controversy ;  it  was  Pelagianism  which 
made  Augustine  understand  what  he  did  of  predestination  : 
we  have  it  also  exemplified,  that,  not  to  know  the  root  and 
outline  of  truth  is  not  to  know  any  branch  or  feature  of 
it  thoroughly.  His  historian  would  commend  him  for 
his  moderation,  which  is  here  another  name  for  his  igno 
rance  ;  but  the  reality  is,  not  thoroughly  understanding 
predestination,  which  is  the  root  "  of  the  mystery  of  God, 
and  of  the  Father,  and  of  Christ,"  he  did  not  understand 
justification,  he  did  not  understand  redemption,  he  did  not 
understand  man's  state,  he  did  not  understand  that  grace 
of  which  he  was  the  strenuous  and  honoured  defender. 


Grace  of  the  Spirit  (properly  so  called)  is  but  a  part  of  the 
grace  of  God  the  Father,  which  was  given  us  in  Christ 
Jesus  before  the  world  began ;  and  even  of  that  part,  of 
which  he  spake  so  sweetly  and  so  feelingly,  he  did  not 
discern  the  spring,  channel  and  mouth. — What  is  to  be 
said  of  this — how  it  should  have  been  so  arranged  to  this 
beloved  child,  that  he  should  have  been  left,  and  kept, 
and  used  in  his  ignorance,  is  one  question  ;  the  fact  that 
he  was  so  left  is  another.  The  truth  is,  he  and  his 
venerable  yoke-fellow  Luther  are  clear  confirmers  of  the 
position  I  have  maintained  in  a  preceding  note  (see  p.  Ixiii.) 
that  the  light  of  divine  truth  is  progressive  ;  Augustine 
knew  what  Cyprian  did  not,  and  Luther  knew  what 
Augustine  did  not — and  why  is  the  climax  to  end  with 
Luther,  Calvin  and  Cranmer  ?  Grace  however,  though 
not  in  all  its  fulness,  yet  in  all  its  freeness,  was  Augus 
tine's  theme  and  Augustine's  glory.  With  such  a  his 
tory  going  before,  how  could  he  teach  any  thing  else  ? 
( The  distinguishing  glory  of  the  Gospel  is  to  teach 
humility,  and  to  give  God  his  due  honour ;  and  Augustine 
was  singularly  prepared  for  this  by  a  course  of  internal 
experience.  He  had  felt  human  insufficiency  completely, 
and  knew  that  in  himself  dwelt  no  good  thing.  Hence  he 
was  admirably  qualified  to  describe  the  total  depravity  and 
apostasy  of  human  nature,  and  he  described  what  he  knew 

to  be  true Humility  is  his  theme.     Augustine  taught 

men  what  it  is  to  be  humble  before  God.  This  he  does 
every  where  Math  godly  simplicity,  with  inexpressible 
seriousness.  And  in  doing  this,  no  writer,  uninspired, 
ever  exceeded,  I  am  apt  to  think  ever  equalled  him  in  any 
age Few  writers  have  been  equal  to  him  in  de 
scribing  the  internal  conflict  of  flesh  and  spirit He 

describes  this  in  a  manner  unknown  to  any  but  those  who 
have  deeply  felt  it :  and  the  Pelagian  pretensions  to  per 
fection  oblige  him  to  say  more  than  otherwise  would  be 
needful  to  prove,  that  the  most  humble  and  the  most  holy 


have,  through  life,  to  combat  with  in-dwelling  sin. . . .  Two 
more  practical  subjects  he  delights  to  handle,  charity  and 
heavenly-mindedness.  In  both  he  excels  wonderfully. . . 
A  reference  of  all  things  to  a  future  life,  and  the  depth 
of  humble  love  appear  in  all  his  writings  ;  as  in  truth, 
from  the  moment  of  his  conversion,  they  influenced  all  his 
practice.'  With  all  his  darkness,  therefore,  abiding  thick 
upon  him  (we  are  not  to  call  darkness  light  because  God 
commanded  the  light  to  shine  out  of  it),  He  who  formeth 
the  light  and  createth  darkness  made  him  light  to  His 
church.  '  For  a  thousand  years  and  upwards  the  light  of 
divine  grace,  which  shone  here  and  there  in  individuals, 
during  the  dreary  night  of  superstition,  was  nourished  by 
his  writings  ;  which,  next  to  the  sacred  Scriptures,  were 
the  guides  of  men  who  feared  God  :  nor  have  we,  in  all 
history,  an  instance  of  so  extensive  utility  derived  to  the 
church  from  the  writings  of  men.'  Beatus  Augustinus  is 
the  title  by  which  he  is  commonly  quoted ;  and  a  word 
from  him,  for  confirmation,  was  usually  made  an  end  of 
all  strife  by  Luther,  Calvin,  and  all  the  Oracles  of  the 
Reformation,  when  eleven  hundred  years  had  rolled  over 
his  ashes. 
















j    Till 


i.  Assertions  defended. 

ii.  Erasmus  a  sceptic. 

in.  Christian    truth    not 

iv.  Scripture  falsely  ac 
cused  of  obscurity. 
v.  Freewill   a    necessary 

vi.  Erasmus's  Christianity. 

vn.  The  same  exposed  by 


Connection  of  the  sub 
ject  with  true  piety. 

IX.  Erasmus   has   omitted 
God's  prescience. 


x.  God's  prescience  flows 
from  Erasmus's  con 

xi.  Objection  to  term e Ne 
cessity.'  Necessity  of 
a  consequence,  &c. 
xii.  Prevalence  of  the  opi 
nion  of  '  Necessity/ 
xni.  Temerity  of  Erasmus's 

xiv.  All  Scripture  truth  may 

be  published  safely. 
xv.  That     '  some     truths 
ought  not  to  be  pub 
lished'  considered. 




xvi.  Erasmus's  three  ex 
amples  considered. 

xvii.  Erasmus  neither  un 
derstands  nor  feels 
the  question. 

xvin.  Peace  of  the  world 

xix.  Free  confession.  The 
Pope  and  God  at 
war.  The  people 

XX.  Respect  of  persons, 
time  and  place  per 

xxi.  The  Fathers  have  no 
authority  but  from 
the  word. 


xxii.  c  All  things  by  ne 
cessity;'  f  God  all 
in  all.' 

xxin.  Two  reasons  why 
certain  paradoxes 
should  be  preached. 

xxiv.  That  '  all  human 
works  are  neces 
sary,'  explained  and 

xxv.  Erasmus  self-con 
victed  :  madness  of 
claiming  Freewill. 

xxvi.  Erasmus  reduced  to 
a  dilemma. 


i.  Canonical  Scriptures 

xi.  Erasmus's  perplexity. 

to  be  the  standard. 

xn.  Two  tribunals  for  the 

ii.  Excellences     of   the 

spirits  of  men. 

Fathers  not  of  Free 

xin.  Clearness    of    Scrip 


ture  proved. 

in.  Luther  demands   ef 

xiv.  The  same. 

fects  of  Freewill  in 

xv.      Concludes     against 

three  particulars. 


iv.  The  Saints  practically 

xvi.  f  All  your  adversaries 

disclaim  Freewill. 

shall  not  be  able  to 

v.  Luther  demands  a  de 

resist/  considered. 

finition  of  Freewill. 

xvii.  We   have   this   pro 

vi.     Erasmus's      advice 

mised  victory. 

turned  against  him 

xvm.  Why  great  geniuses 


have     been      blind 

vn.  Injustice  done  to  the 

about  Freewill. 


xix.  That    Erasmus    has 

viu.  (  That   God    should 

admitted   Scripture 

have  disguised  the 

to  be  clear. 

error  of  his  church,' 

XX.  Erasmus  reduced  to 


a  dilemma. 

ix.  The  church  hidden. 

xxi.  Luther     claims   vic 

x.  Judgment     of     faith 

tory      before      the 

distinct  from  judg 

battle  . 

ment  of  charity. 





I.  Erasmus's  definition 
of  Freewill  exa 

ii.  Definition  continued. 
in.  Definition  continued. 
iv.  Inferences  from  Eras 
mus's  definition. 
V.  Erasmus's   definition 
compared  with  that 
of  the  Sophists, 
vi.  Ecclus.    xv.    15 — 18. 

vii.  Opinions  on  Freewill 


vin.  Erasmus  inconsistent 
with  his  definition. 
ix.  The  approvable  opi 
nion  considered. 
x.  The  approvable  opi 
nion  further  consi 

xi.  Freewill  not  a  c  ne 
gative  intermediate 
power  of  the  will.' 
xn.  The  approvable  opi 
nion  compared  with 
the  other  two. 
xni.  Ecclus.   xv.    14 — 18. 
resumed    and     ex 

xiv.  Eccllls.  at  least  does 
not  decide  for  Free 
xv.  What  meant  by  c  If 

thou  wilt,  &c.' 
xvi.  Use  of  such  forms  of 


xvii.  Diatribe  insincere  in 
her     inference — 

proves  too  much — 















Conclude  that  Ec- 
clus.  proves  nothing 
for  Freewill. 
Genesis  iv.  7«  con 

Dent.  xxx.  19.  con 

Passages  from  Deut. 
xxx.  &c.  considered. 
His  Scriptures  prove 
nothing;  his  addi 
tions  too  much. 
Simile  of  the  hand 
tied.  Uses  of  the 

Isaiah  i.  19.  xxx. 
21.xlv.  20.  Hi.  1,  2. 
and  some  other  pas 
sages  considered. 
Mai.  iii.  7-  more 
particularly  consi 

Ezek.  xviii.  23.  con 

The  true  meaning 
of  Ezek.  xviii.  23. 

Ezek.  xviii.  23.  ne 
gatives  Freewill,  in 
stead  of  proving  it. 
,  How  far  Cod  may 
be  said  to  bewail 
the  death  he  pro 

Exhortations,    pro 
mises,  &c.  of  Scrip 
ture  useless. 
,  Deut.  xxx.  11 — 14. 

,  Sum  of  the  Old  Tes 
tament  witnesses  for 




xxxii.  New  Testament 
witnesses  for  Free 
will,  beginning  with 
Matthew  xxiii.  37 — 
39.  considered. 

xxxin.  The  reality  of 
God's  secret  will 

xxxiv.  Matthew  xix.  !/• 
and  other  like  pas 
sages,  considered. 
xxxv.  Objection,,  '  that 
precepts  are  given, 
and  merit  is  ascribed 
to  Freewill/ 

xxxvi.  New  Testament 
precepts  are  ad 
dressed  to  the  con 
verted,  not  to  those 
in  Freewill. 

xxxvn.  Merit  and  reward 
may  consist  with 

i.  Erasmus  has  but  two 

texts  to  kill, 
n.  Kills  by  resolving 
them  into  tropes : 
which  he  defends 
by  Luther's  ex 

in.  Trope  and  conse 
quence  when  only 
to  be  admitted. 

IV.  Luther  denies  having 
used  trope  in  his 
interpretation  of — 
"  Stretch  out/'  and 
"  Make  you." 

v.  Diatribe  must  prove 
by  Scripture  or  mi 
racle,  that  the  very 
passage  in  question 
is  tropical. 


xxxvin.  Why    there     are 
promises  and  threat- 
enings  in  Scripture. 
xxxix.  Reason     is      an 
swered,     '  Such   is 
the  will  of  God.' 
XL.  Apology    for    not 
going  further.    Ab 
surd     cavil      from 
Matt.  vii.  16. 
XLI.  Luke  xxiii.  34.  is 
against     not     fur 
XLII.  John  i.  12.  is  all 

for  grace. 

XLI  n.  Objections  from 
Paul  summarily  de 

XLIV.  Wickliffe's  confes 
sion  confessed. 


vi.      Erasmus's     trope 
makes  nonsense  of 
Moses,   and   leaves 
the  knot  tied, 
vii.  Necessity    still    re 
mains,  and  you  do 
not  clear  God. 
vin.  Diatribe's  similes  of 
sun    and    rain    re 

ix.  Erasmus's  two  causes 
for  tropicizing  con 

x.  That  God  made  all 
things    very   good, 
not  a  sufficient  rea 
xi.  How  God  works  evil 

in  us,  considered, 
xii.  How  God  hardens. 




xni.  Mistakes      prohi 
xiv.      Pharaoh's     case 


xv.  Impertinent  ques 
tions  may  still  be 

xvi.  The   trope    com 
pared  with  the  text, 
xvn.  Moses's  object  is 
to    strengthen     Is 

xviii.  Paul's  reference  in 
Rom.  ix.     Diatribe 
obliged  to  yield. 
xix.  Diatribe's  conces 
sions    and    retrac 
tions  exposed. 
xx.  Where  true  rever 
ence  for    Scripture 

xxi.  What  carnal  rea 
son  hates. 

xxn.  Paul's  argument 
resumed.  Diatribe 
tries  to  escape  but 

xxm.  '  Necessity  of  a 
consequent/  ex 

xxiv.  The  other  admit 
ted  text  defended. 
xxv.  Paul  defended   in 
his  use  of  Genesis 
xxv.  21 — 23. 
xxvi.  The  same, 
xxvii.  Diatribe's       eva 
sions  of  Malachi  i. 
2,  3.  considered, 
xxvin.  The  same. 
xxix.  The  same. 
xxx.  Simile  of  the  pot 

xxxi.   The    cavil    from 
2  Tim.  ii.  repelled. 


xxxii.  Reason's        cavil 

from  this  simile. 
xxxin.  The  same. 
xxxiv.     That    Scripture 
must  be  understood 
with  qualifications. 
xxxv.  That  Luther   has 
always    maintained 
the    consistency   of 
xxxvi.  After      all      Paul 


xxxvn.  Gen.  vi.  3.  main 
xxxvin.  Gen.  viii.  21.  and 

vi.  5.  maintained. 
xxxix.  Isaiah  xl.  2.  main 

XL.       Episode     upon 
God's    help. — Cor 
nelius  rescued. 
XLI.  Isaiah    xl.    6,   7. 

XLII.  The  true  interpret- 

ation'of  the  same. 
XLIII.  Heathen  virtue  is 

God's  abhorrence. 
XLIV.  Consequences    of 
the  assumption  that 
a  part  of  man  is  not 
<  flesh.' 

XLV.      Luther     falsely 
charged.        Autho 
rity  of  the  ancients, 
XLVI.  Jeremiah   x.    23, 

24.  defended. 
XL vn.  Proverbs   xvi.    1. 

XLVIII.  Much  in  Proverbs 

for  Freewill. 
XLIX.  John  xv.  5.  main 

L.  Inconsistency 




1,1.  Luther  proves  his 


LI i.  1  Cor.iii.  7-  1  Cor. 

xiii.  2.  John  iii.  27 . 

LIU.  Diatribe's   similes 

naught,  and  against 

O  -'  O 

.  her.  —  What  she 
ought  to  have  spok 
en  to. 


LIV.  Diatribe's  incon 
sistency  and  auda 
city — takes  up  one 
subject  and  pursues 
another — argues  by 

LV.  Solemn    conclu 


i.  How  Luther  pro 
poses  to  conduct 
the  fight. 

ii.  Romans  i.  18.  pro 
nounces  sentence 
upon  Freewill. 

in.  A  published  Gos 
pel  proves  want  of 
knowledge  as  well 
as  power. 

iv.  Freewill        neither 
conceives  the  truth 
nor  can  endure  it. 
v.  Paul  expressly 

names  the  chiefest 
of  the  Greeks,  and 
afterwards  con 
demns  the  Jews  in 

vi.  Paul's  epilogue  es 
tablishes  his  mean 

vn.  Paul  justified  in  his 


vin.  David's  condemna 
tion  includes  power 
as  well  as  act. 

ix.  Paul's  big  words  in 
Romans  iii.  19,  '20. 
insisted  upon. 

x.  Evasion,  that  it  is 
ceremonial    law   of 
which  Paul  speaks, 
xi.  Paul's  meaning  is, 
4  works  of  the  law 
done    in   the    flesh 
xn.  All  the  law  does  is 

9   to  shew  sin. 
xin.  Confirmed  by  Gal. 
iii.  19.  and  Rom.  v. 

xiv.  Rom.    iii.   21 — 25. 
contains  five  thun 
derbolts        against 
xv.  The  same. 
xvi.  The  same, 
xvii.  Sophists  worse  than 

the  Pelagians, 
xvin.  Fathers  overlooked 


xix.  Paul's  citation  of  the 
example  of  Abra 
ham  searched  and 

xx.  Luther  omits  much 
which  he  might  in 
sist  upon. 





xxi.  Luther's  own  view 

John    iii.   27.  John 

of  Paul. 

iii.  31.  John  viii.  23. 

xxn.  Paul's  crown. 

xxix.  John  vi.  44. 

xxin.  Grace    exemplified 

xxx.  John  xvi.  9. 

in  Jews  rejected  — 

xxxi.  Omits    '  flesh   and 

Gentiles  called. 


xxiv.  John  a  devourer. 
xxv.  John  Baptist's  tes 

xxxii.  Difficulty  stated,and 

xxvi.  Nicodemus's  case. 
xxvn.  John   xiv.  6.  fore 

xxxiii.  The  same  reproved, 
and  palliated  by  ex 

stalled.  Way,Truth, 

xxxiv.  Sum  of  the   argu 

&c.  are  exclusive. 


xxvin.  John    iii.    18.    36. 



22,  note  P,/or  Chap.  ii.  read  Part  ii. 

(JO,  note  i,/0r  Chap.  i.  Sect.  iii.  note  '.  read  Part  i.  Sect  iii   note 

71,  notes  for  Sect.  ix.  note  <*.  read  Sect.  ix.  note  *. 

199,  side  note,  for  Some  read  Sum. 

225,  note  'i,/or  y  read  %• 








To    the  venerable   Mr.   Erasmus  of  Rotterdam 
Martin  Luther  sends  grace  and  peace  in  Christ. 

Reasons  for  the  Work. 

IN  replying  so  tardily  to  your  Diatribe3  on 
Freewill,  my  venerable  Erasmus,  I  have  done 
violence  both  to  the  general  expectation  and  to 
my  own  custom.  Till  this  instance,  I  have  seemed 
willing  not  only  to  lay  hold  on  such  opportunities 
of  writing  when  they  occurred  to  me,  but  even  to  go 
in  search  of  them  without  provocation.  Some  per 
haps  will  be  ready  to  wonder  at  this  new  and  un 
usual  patience,  as  it  may  be,  or  fear  of  Luther's ; 
who  has  not  been  roused  from  his  silence  even 
by  so  many  speeches  and  letters  which  have  been 
bandied  to  and  fro  amongst  his  adversaries, 
congratulating  Erasmus  upon  his  victory,  and 
chaunting  an  lo  PcEan.  '  So  then,  this  Macca- 

a  Diatribe.]  One  of  the  names  by  which  Erasmus  chose  to 
distinguish  his  performance  on  Freewill.  He  borrows  it  from 
the  debates  of  the  ancient  philosophers  ;  and  would  be  under 
stood  to  announce  a  canvassing  of  the  question  rather  than 
a  judicial  determination  upon  it.  The  original  Greek  term 
denotes,  1.  The  place  trodden  by  the  feet  whilst  they  were 
engaged  in  the  debate.  2.  The  time  spent  in  sucli  debate. 
3.  The  debate  itself.  Erasmus's  Diatribe,  therefore,  is  '  a 
disquisition,  or  disputation,'  on  Freewill.  Luther  often  per 
sonifies  it. 


basus  and  most  inflexible  Assertor  has  at  length 
found  an  antagonist  worthy  of  him,  whom  he  does 
not  dare  to  open  his  mouth  against !' 

I  am  so  far  from  blaming  these  men,  however, 
that  I  am  quite  ready  to  yield  a  palm  to  you 
myself,  such  as  I  never  yet  did  to  any  man ;  ad 
mitting,  that  you  not  only  very  far  excel  me  in1 
eloquence  and  genius  (a  palm  which  we  all  de 
servedly  yield  to  you — how  much  more  such  a; 
man  as  I ;  a  barbarian  who  have  always  dwelt 
amidst  barbarism),  but  that  you  have  checked 
both  my  spirit  and  my  inclination  to  answer  you, 
and  have  made  me  languid  before  the  battle 
This  you  have  done  twice  over:  first,  by  your  art 
in  pleading  this  cause  with  such  a  wonderful  com 
mand  of  temper,  from  first  to  last,  that  you  have 
made  it  impossible  for  me  to  be  angry  with  you; 
and  secondly,  by  contriving,  through  fortune,  ac 
cident  or  fate,  to  say  nothing  on  this  great  sub 
ject  which  has  not  been  said  before.  In  fact,  you] 
say  so  much  less  for  Freewill,  and  yet  ascribe  so 
much  more  to  it,  than  the  Sophists"  have  done 
before  you  (of  which  I  shall  speak  more  at  large 
hereafter),  that  it  seemed  quite  superfluous  to  an 
swer  those  arguments  of  yours  which  I  have  so 
often  confuted  myself,  and  which  have  been  trod 
den  under  foot,  and  crushed  to  atoms,  by  Philip 
Melancthon's  invincible  *  Common  Places/0  In 

b  The  schoolmen,  with  Peter  Lombard  at  their  head,  who 
arose  about  the  middle  of  the  twelfth  century ;  idolizers  of 
Aristotle  ;  their  theology  abounding  with  metaphysical  subtil- 
ties,  and  their  disputations  greatly  resembling  those  of  the 
Greek  sophists. 

c  Luther  refers  to  the  former  editions  of  Melancthon's 
'  Common  Places/  which  contained  some  passages  not  found 
in  the  later  ones ;  this  amongst  others.  '  The  divine  pre 
destination  takes  away  liberty*  from  man  :  for  all  things  happen 
according  to  divine  predestination ;  as  well  the  external  ac 
tions  as  the  internal  thoughts  of  all  creatures. .  . .  The  judgment 
of  the  Hcsh  abhors  this  sentiment,  but  the  judgment  of  the 

*  Not  '  choice,'  but  '  unbiassed  choice;'  '  freeness  and  contingency  of 
choice.'— ED. 


my  judgment,  that  work  of  his  deserves  not  only  to 
be  immortalized,  but  even  canonized.  So  mean  and 
worthless  did  yours  appear,  when  compared  with  it, 
that  I  exceedingly  pitied  you,  who  were  polluting 
your  most  elegant  and  ingenious  diction  with  such 
filth  of  argument,,  and  was  quite  angry  with  your 
most  unworthy  matter,  for  being  conveyed  in  so 
richly  ornamented  a  style  of  eloquence.  It  is  just 
as  if  the  sweepings  of  the  house  or  of  the  stable 
were  borne  about  on  men's  shoulders  in  vases  of 
gold  and  silver !  You  seem  to  have  been  sensi 
ble  of  this  yourself,  from  the  difficulty  with  which 
you  was  persuaded  to  undertake  the  office  of 
writing,  on  this  occasion ;  your  conscience,  no 
doubt,  admonishing  you,  that  with  whatever  pow 
ers  of  eloquence  you  might  attempt  the  subject, 
it  would  be  impossible  so  to  gloss  it  over  that  I 
should  not  discover  the  excrementitious  nature  of 
your  matter  through  all  the  tricksy  ornaments  of 
phrase  with  which  you  might  cover  it ;  that  J 
should  not  discover  it,  I  say;  who,  though  rude 
in  speech,  am,  by  the  grace  of  God,  not  rude  in 
knowledge.  For  I  do  not  hesitate,  with  Paul, 
thus  to  claim  the  gift  of  knowledge  for  myself, 

spirit  embraces  it.  For  you  will  not  learn  the  fear  of  God,  or 
confidence  in  Him,  from  any  source  more  surely  than  when 
you  shall  have  imbued  your  mind  with  this  sentiment  concern 
ing  predestination.' — It  is  to  passages  such  as  these  that  Luther 
doubtless  refers  in  the  testimony  here  given  to  Melancthon's 
work  ;  and  from  the  withdrawing  of  which  in  subsequent  edi 
tions,  it  has  been  inferred  that  Melancthon  afterwards  changed 
his  sentiments  upon  these  subjects.  The  late  Dean  of  Car 
lisle  has  investigated  this  supposition  with  his  usual  accuracy 
and  diligence ;  and  concludes  that  he  probably  did  alter  his 
earlier  sentiments  to  some  extent  in  later  life.  Truth,  how 
ever  does  not  stand  in  man  or  by  man.  Too  much  has  no 
doubt  been  made  of  supposed  changes  in  the  opinions  of 
many  learned  and  pious  divines.  But  after  all,  what  do  these 
prove  ?  We  have  the  same  sources  of  knoAvledgc  as  they, 
and  must  draw  our  light  from  the  clear  spring,  not  from  the 
polluted  and  uncertain  stream. — See  Milaer's  Eccles.  Hist, 
vol.  iv.  p.  920—936,  first  edition, 


and  with  equal  confidence  to  withhold  it  from  you ; 
whilst  I  claim  eloquence  and  genius  for  you,  and 
willingly,,  as  I  ought  to  do,  withhold  them  from 

So  that  I  have  been  led  to  reason  thus  with 
myself.  If  there  be  those  who  have  neither  drunk 
deeper  into  our  writings,  nor  yet  more  firmly 
maintain  them,  (fortified  as  they  are  by  such  an 
accumulation  of  Scripture  proofs)  than  to  be 
shaken  by  those  trifling  or  good  for  nothing  argu 
ments  of  Erasmus,  though  dressed  out,  I  admit, 
in  the  most  engaging  apparel ;  such  persons  are 
not  worth  being  cured  by  an  answer  from  me:  for 
nothing  could  be  said  or  written  which  would  be 
sufficient  for  such  men,  though  many  thousands  of 
books  should  be  repeated  even  a  thousand  times 
over.  You  might  just  as  wrell  plough  the  sea 
shore  and  cast  your  seed  into  the  sand,  or  fill  a  cask, 
that  is  full  of  holes,  with  water.  We  have  mi 
nistered  abundantly  to  those  who  have  drunk  of 
the  Spirit  as  their  teacher  through  the  instru 
mentality  of  our  books,  and  they  perfectly  despise 
your  performances ;  and  as  for  those  who  read 
without  the  Spirit,  it  is  no  wonder  if  they  be 
driven  like  the  seed  with  every  wind.  To  such 
persons  God  would  not  say  enough,  if  he  were 
to  convert  all  his  creatures  into  tongues.  So  that 
I  should  almost  have  determined  to  leave  these 
persons,  stumbled  as  they  were  by  your  publication, 
with  the  crowd  which  glories  in  you  and  decrees 
you  a  triumph. 

You  see  then,  that  it  is  neither  the  multitude 
of  my  engagements,  nor  the  difficulty  of  the  under 
taking,  nor  the  vastness  of  your  eloquence,  nor 
any  fear  of  you,  but  mere  disgust,  indignation, 
and  contempt ;  or,  to  say  the  truth,  my  deliberate 
judgment  respecting  your  Diatribe,  which  has 
restrained  the  impulse  of  my  mind  to  answer  you: 
not  to  mention  what  has  also  its  place  here,  that 
fever  like  yourself  you  with  the  greatest  pertina- 


city  take  care  to  be  always  evasive  and  ambi-  $ 
guous.d  More  cautious  than  Ulysses,  you  flatter  < 
yourself  that  you  contrive  to  sail  between  Scylla 
and  Charybdis  ;  whilst  you  would  be  understood 
to  have  asserted  nothing,  yet  again  assume  the 
air  of  an  asserter.  With  men  of  this  sort  how  is 
it  possible  to  confer  and  to  compare-,"  unless  one 
should  possess  the  art  of  catching  Proteus?  Here 
after  I  will  shew  you  with  Christ's  help  what  I  can 
do  in  this  way,  and  what  you  have  gained  by  put 
ting  me  to  it. 

Still  it  is  not  without  reason  that  I  answer  you 
now.  The  faithful  brethren  in  Christ  impel  me 
by  suggesting  the  general  expectation  which  is 
entertained  of  a  reply  from  my  pen ;  inasmuch  as 
the  authority  of  Erasmus  is  not  to  be  despised, 
and  the  true  Christian  doctrine  is  brought  into 
jeopardy  in  the  hearts  of  many.  At  length  too  it 
has  occurred  to  me  that  there  has  been  a  great 
want  of  piety  in  my  silence ;  and  that  I  have  been 
beguiled  by  the  'wisdom'  or  'wickedness'  of  my 
flesh  into  a  forgetfulness  of  my  office,  which  makes 
me  debtor  to  the  wise  and  to  the  unwise,  especially 
when  I  am  called  to  the  discharge  of  it  by  the  en 
treaties  of  so  many  of  the  brethren.  For,  although 
our  business f  be  not  content  with  an  external 

d  Lubricus  etjlexlloquus.']  Lub.  '  one  that  slips  out  of  your 
hands,  so  that  you  cannot  grapple  with  him.'  Flex.  f  one  whose 
words  will  bend  many  ways  j  as  being  of  doubtful  or  pliable 

e  Cow/erri  aut  componi.]  What  Erasmus  professed  to  do,  and 
thereupon  gave  the  name  of  '  Collatio'  to  his  Treatise :  '  a  sort 
of  '  conference'  and  '  comparison'  of  sentiment ;  each  dis 
putant  bringing  his  opinion  and  arguments,  and  placing  them 
front  to  front  with  his  opponent's.' — Proteus  was  a  sort  of 
Demigod  supposed  to  have  the  power  of  changing  himself  into 
many  forms. 

f  Res  nostra."]  '  The  ministering  of  Christ'  is  the  business 
here  spoken  of,  by  a  phrase  correspondent  with  '  res  bellica/ 
•  res  navalis,'  '  res  judiciaria,'  &c.  &c.  as  being  the  trade,  occu 
pation,  and  alone  concern  of  Christ's  ministers  $  in  whose  name 
he  here  speaks. 


teacher,  but  besides  him  who  planteth  and  water- 
eth  without,  desires  the  Spirit  of  God  also  (that 
He  may  give  the  increase,,  and  being  Himself  life 
may  teach  the  doctrine  of  life  within  the  soul — a 
thought  which  imposed  upon  me);  still,  whereas 
this  Spirit  is  free,  and  breathes,  not  where  we  would, 
but  where  He  himself  wills ;  I  ought  to  have  ob 
served  that  rule  of  Paul's,  "Be  instant  in  season, 
out  of  season  •"  for  we  know  not  at  what  hour 
the  Lord  shall  come.  What  if  some  have  not  yet 
experienced  the  teaching  of  the  Spirit  through  my 
writings,  and  have  been  dashed  to  the  ground  by 
your  Diatribe !  It  may  be  their  hour  was  not  yet 

And  who  knows  but  God  may  deign  to  visit 
even  you,  my  excellent  Erasmus,  by  so  wretched 
and  frail  a  little  vessel  of  His,  as  myself?  Who 
knows  but  I  may  come  to  you  in  happy  hour  (I 
wish  it  from  my  heart  of  the  Father  of  Mercies 
through  Christ  our  Lord)  by  means  of  this  trea 
tise,  and  may  gain  a  most  dear  brother?  For, 
although  you  both  think  ill  and  write  ill  on  the 
subject  of  Freewill,  I  owe  you  vast  obligations, 
for  having  greatly  confirmed  me  in  my  sentiments, 
by  giving  me  to  see  the  cause  of  Freewill  pleaded 
by  such  and  so  great  a  genius,  with  all  his  might, 
and  yet  after  all  so  little  effected,  that  it  stands 
,  worse  than  it  did  before. — An  evident  proof  this, 
that  Freewill  is  a  downright  lie  ;  since,  like  the 
woman  in  the  Gospel,  the  more  it  is  healed  of 
the  doctors  the  worse  it  fares.  I  shall  give  un 
bounded  thanks  to  you,  if  the  event  be,  that  you 
are  made  to  know  the  truth  through  me,  even  as  / 
have  become  more  fixed  in  it  through  you.  How- 
beit,  each  of  these  results  is  the  gift  of  the  Spirit, 
not  the  achievement  of  our  own  good  offices. g 

s  Offitii  nostri.~\  Off.  '  What  a  man  has  to  do;'  '  his  business,' 
implying  relation  ;  as  f  munus  et  officium  oculorum,'  '  the  office 
or  function  of  the  eye.'  Hence, f  good  office,  obligation,  kind 
ness  conferred.' 


We  must  therefore  pray  God  to  open  my  mouth 
and  your  heart  and  the  hearts  of  all  men,  and  to 
be  himself  present  as  a  Teacher  in  the  midst  of 
us,  speaking  and  hearing  severally  within  our 
souls.  Once  more;  let  me  beg  of  you,  my  Eras 
mus,  to  bear  with  my  rudeness  of  speech,  even 
as  I  bear  with  your  ignorance  on  these  subjects. 
God  gives  not  all  his  gifts  to  one  man;  nor  have 
we  all  power  to  do  all  things ;  or,  as  Paul  says, 
"There  are  distributions  of  gifts,  but  the  same 
Spirit."  It  remains,  therefore,  that  the  gifts  labour 
mutually  for  each  other,  and  that  one  man  bear 
the  burden  of  another's  penury  by  the  gift  which 
he  has  himself  received ;  thus  shall  we  fulfil  the 
law  of  Christ.  (Galat.  vi.  2.) 




Assertions  defended. 

I  WOULD  begin  with  passing  rapidly  through 
some  chapters  of  your  Preface,  by  which  you 
sink  our  cause  and  set  off  your  own.a  And  first,  hav 
ing  already  in  other  publications  found  fault  with  me 
for  being  so  positive  and  inflexible  in  assertion,  you 
in  this  declare  yourself  to  be  so  little  pleased  with 
assertions  that  you  would  be  ready  to  go  over 
and  side b  with  the  Sceptics  on  any  subject  in 
which  the  inviolable  authority  of  the  divine  Scrip 
tures,  and  the  decrees  of  the  Church  (to  which  you 
on  all  occasions  willingly  submit  your  own  judg 
ment,  whether  you  understand  what  she  prescribes, 
or  not)  would  allow  you  to  do  so.  This  is  the 
temper  you  like. 

I  give  you  credit,  as  I  ought,  for  saying  this 
with  a  benevolent  mind,  which  loves  peace  ;  but 
if  another  man  were  to  say  so,  I  should  perhaps 
inveigh  against  him,  as  my  manner  is.  I  ought 
not  however  to  suffer  even  you,  though  writing 
with  the  best  intention,  to  indulge  so  erroneous 

a  Gravas,  ornas.~]  The  figure  is  mixed  :  gr.  '  clog,  load,  weigh 
down.'  Orn.  '  beautify  with  apparel.' 

b  Pedibus  discessurus.~\  A  Roman  phrase  taken  from  their  me 
thod  of  voting  in  the  senate,  when  they  dissented  from  the 
decree  as  proposed  :  they  walked  over  to  the  opposite  side  of 
the  house. 


an  opinion.     For  it  is   not   the   property   of  a  SECT.  i. 

Christian  mind  to  be  displeased  with  assertions;  ' 

nay,  a  man  must  absolutely  be  pleased  with  asser-  Assertions 
tions,  or  he  never  will  be  a  Christian.  Now, 
(that  we  may  not  mock  each  other  with  vague 
words0)  I  call ' adhering  with  constancy,  affirming, 
confessing,  maintaining,  and  invincibly  per 
severing,'  ASSERTION  ;  nor  do  I  believe  that  the 
word  ( assertion '  means  any  thing  else,  either  as 
used  by  the  Latins,  or  in  our  age.  Again ;  I,cqn- 
fine  '  assertion '  to  those  things  which  have  been 
delivered  by  God  to  us  in  the  sacred  writings. 
We  do  not  want  Erasmus,  or  any  other  Master, 
to  teach  us  that  in  doubtful  matters,  or  in  matters 
unprofitable  and  unnecessary,  assertions  are  not 
only  foolish  but  even  impious ;  those  very  strifes 
and  contentions,  which  Paul  more  than  once  con 
demns.  Nor  do  you  speak  of  these,  I  suppose, 
in  this  place  ;  unless,  either  adopting  the  manner 
of  a  ridiculous  Orator,  you  have  chosen  to  pre 
sume  one  subject  of  debate  and  discuss  another, 
like  him  who  harangued  the  Rhombus;  or,  with 
the  madness  of  an  impious  Writer,  are  contend 
ing  that  the  article  of  Freewill  is  dubious  or 
unnecessary. d 

c  Ne  verbis  ludamvr ."]  f  That  we  may  not  be  mocked  by 
words  ;'  '  made  the  sport  of  words.' 

d  frelut  ille  ad  Rhombum."]  If  you  be  indeed  speaking  of  such 
assertions  here,  you  are  either  a  ridiculous  orator,  or  a  mad 
writer  :  a  ridiculous  orator,  if  it  be  not  true  genuine  Freewill 
which  you  are  discussing  ;  a  mad  writer,  if  it  be.  Oratory  was 
out  of  place,  on  such  a  subject,  however  sincere  and  dis 
interested  the  speaker  might  be  ;  but  orators  were  for  the 
most  part  a  venal  and  frivolous  tribe,  and  some  exercised  their 
art  unskilfully,  whilst  others  were  hired  but  to  amuse  and  make 
sport.  It  is  not  without  meaning,  therefore,  that  Luther  puts 
the  orator  and  the  writer  into  comparison  ;  and  if  Erasmus  is 
to  fill  the  weightier  place  of  the  writer,  it  is  that  of  one 
phrensied  and  blasphemous. — I  am  indebted  to  the  kindness  of 
a  learned  friend  for  the  reference,  '  velut  ille  ad  Rhombum,' 
which  had  perplexed  me.  I  can  have  no  doubt  that  it  is  to 
the  fourth  Satire  of  Juvenal,  where  Doraitian  is  represented  as 


TART.  I.        We  Christians  disclaim  all  intercourse  with  the 

Sceptics  and  Academics,  but  admit  into  our  family 

asserters  twofold  more  obstinate,  than  even  the 
Stoics  themselves.  How  often  does  the  Apostle 

having  called  a  council  of  his  senators  to  deliberate  what 
should  be  done  with  an  immense  '  Rhombus,'  or  Turbot ;  with 
which  a  fisherman  out  of  fear  had  presented  him.  Amongst 
other  counsellors  was  a  blind  man,  of  very  infamous  character, 
as  an  informer,  but  high  in  the  favour  of  the  Emperor,  named 
Catullus  ;  '  cum  mortifero  Catullo.' 

"  Grande  ct  conspicmim  nostro  quoque  temporc  monstrum 
4<  Cescut  adulator." 

This  man  extolled  the  Rhombus  exceedingly,  pointing  to  its 
various  beauties  with  his  hand,  as  if  he  really  saw  them.  But 
unfortunately,  whilst  he  pointed  to  the  fish  as  lying  on  his  left 
hand,  it  lay  all  the  while  on  his  right. 

*'  Nemo  magis  Rhombum  stupuit  :  nam  plurima  dixit 
"  In  laevum  conversus  :  at  illi  dextra  jaccbat 
"  Eellua  : 

This  was  not  the  only  occasion  on  which  he  had  given  scope 
to  his  imagination,  and  praised  as  though  he  had  eyes  : 

"sic  pugnas  Cilicis  laudabat  et  ictus, 

"  Et  pegma,  et  pueros  inde  ad  velaria  raptos." — Juv.  iv.  113 — 121. 

The  force  of  the  comparison,  therefore,  lies  in  Erasmus 
being  supposed  to  discuss  the  phantom  of  his  own  imagination, 
instead  of  the  real  Rhombus.  This  phantom  he  might  call 
dubious  or  unnecessary,  without  being  himself  impious  ;  it  was 
the  coinage  of  his  own  brain  :  but  if  he  called  the  real 
Rhombus,  '  the  Church's  confession  of  Freewill,'  dubious  or 
useless,  he  wrote  gravely,  but  he  wrote  sacrilegiously.  He  has 
only  the  alternative,  therefore,  of  being  a  fool  or  a  madman, 
if  he  place  Luther's  assertion  on  Freewill  amongst  the  barren 
and  vain. — The  word  '  praesumere  '  is  used  in  rather  a  peculiar, 
but  not  unauthorized,  sense  ;  correspondent  with  our  English 
word,  '  presume,'  and  with  its  own  etymology ;  '  preconceive/ 
'anticipate,'  '  conjecture,'  imagine,' — '  opinari,'  'credere/ 
'  conjicere/  '  imaginari.' — I  should  rather  have  preferred  un 
derstanding  '  praesumere'  in  the  sense  of  '  anticipating  /  mean 
ing  that  he  spoke  of  one  subject  here  in  his  Preface,  and  of 
another  in  the  body  of  his  work.  But  the  illustration  does  not 
coincide  with  this  view  ;  Catullus  did  not  make  two  speeches  : 
nor  do  I  find  any  authority  for  such  use  of  '  praesumere.' — It 
has  a  peculiar  rhetorical  sense  of  '  pre-occupying  j'  that  is, 
'  occupying  the  adversary's  ground  before  him/  by  an 
ticipating  and  obviating  his  objections. — But  this  will  not 
apply  here. 


Paul  demand  that  Plerophory,0  or  most  assured  SECT.  i. 
and  most  tenacious  (  assertion'  of  what  our  con- 
science  believes  !  In  Rom.  x.  he  calls  it  '  confes- 
sion';  saying,  "  and  with  the  mouth  confession  is 
made  unto  salvation."  (Rom.  x.  10.)  And  Christ 
says,  "  He  who  confesses  me  before  men,  him  will 
I  also  confess  before  my  Father."  (Matt.  x.  32.) 
Peter  commands  us  to  give  a  reason  of  the  hope 
that  is  in  us.  (1  Pet.  iii.  15.)  And  what  need  of 
many  words?  Nothing  is  more  notorious  and 
more  celebrated  amongst  Christians  than  Asser 
tion  :  take  away  assertions,  and  you  take  away 
Christianity.  Nay,  the  Holy  Ghost  is  given  to 
them  from  heaven,  that  He  may  glorify  Christ  and 
confess  him  even  unto  death.  Unless  this  be  not 
asserting,  to  die  for  confessing  and  asserting !  In 
short,  the  Spirit  is  such  an  assertor,  that  He  even 
goes  out  as  a  champion  to  invade  the  world,  and 
reproves  it  of  sin,  as  though  he  would  provoke  it 
to  the  fight;  and  Paul  commands  Timothy  to 
"  rebuke,  and  to  be  instant  out  of  season."  ("John 
xvi.  8.  2  Tim.  iv.  2.)  But  what  a  droll  sort  of 
rebuker  would  he  be,  who  neither  assuredly  be 
lieves,  nor  with  constancy  asserts  himself,  the 
truth  which  he  rebukes  others  for  rejecting.  I 
would  send  the  fellow  to  Anticyra/  But  I  am  far 
more  foolish  myself,  in  wasting  words  and  time 
upon  a  matter  clearer  than  the  sun.  What  Chris 
tian  would  endure  that  assertions  should  be  de 
spised  ?  This  were  nothing  else  but  a  denial  of  all 
religion  and  piety  at  once ;  or  an  assertion,  that 
neither  religion,  nor  piety,  nor  any  dogma  of  the 
faith,  is  of  the  least  moment. — And  why,  pray,  do 
you  also  deal  in  assertions  ?  ( I  am  not  pleased 

e  Luther  has  no  authority  for  this  interpretation  of  the  terra 
Plerophory  ;  which  expresses  no  more  than  '  full  evidence  to  a 
fact,  or  truth  ;'  or,  '  full  assurance  of  that  fact  or  truth.'  But 
in  substance  he  is  correct  j  '  confession '  (which  amounts  to 
assertion)  is  demanded. 

f  Antic.']  The  famous  island  of  Hellebore  ;  which  cured  inad 
people.  Hence  '  Naviget  Anticyram.' — Hor. 


PART  I.   with  assertions,  and  I  like  this  temper  better  than 

its  opposite.' 

But  you  would  be  understood  to  have  meant 
nothing  about  confessing  Christ  and  his  dogmas 
in  this  place.  I  thank  you  for  the  hint ;  and,  out 
of  kindness  to  you,  will  recede  from  my  right  and 
from  my  practice,  and  will  forbear  to  judge  of 
your  intention;  reserving  such  judgment  for  an 
other  time,  or  for  other  topics.  Meanwhile,  I 
advise  you  to  correct  your  tongue  and  your  pen, 
and  hereafter  to  abstain  from  such  expressions ; 
for  however  your  mind  may  be  sound  and  pure, 
your  speech  (which  is  said  to  be  the  image  of  the 
mind)  is  not  so.  For,  if  you  judge  the  cause  of 
Freewill  to  be  one  which  it  is  not  necessary  to 
understand,  and  to  be  no  part  of  Christianity,  you 
speak  correctly,  but  your  judgment  is  profane. 
On  the  contrary,  if  you  judge  it  to  be  necessary, 
you  speak  profanely  and  judge  correctly.  But 
then  there  is  no  room  for  these  mighty  complaints 
and  exaggerations  about  useless  assertions  and 
contentions :  for  what  have  these  to*  do  with  the 
question  at  issue  ? 
SECT.  ii.  But  what  say  you  to  those  words  of  yours  in 

which  you  speak  not  of  the  cause  of  Freewill  only, 

Erasmus     fo^t  of  all  religious  dogmas  in  general,  '  that,  if 
beTsdV  the  inviolable  authority  of  the  divine  writings  and 
*""•••  the  decrees  of  the  Church  allowed  it,  you  would 

go  over  and  side  with  the  Sceptics ;  so  displeased 
are  you  with  assertions.' 

What  a  Proteus  is  there  in  those  words,  '  in 
violable  authority  and  decrees  of  the  Church  I' 
As  if  you  had  a  great  reverence,  forsooth,  for  the 
Scriptures  and  for  the  Church,  but  would  hint  a 
wish  that  you  were  at  liberty  to  become  a  Sceptic. 
What  Christian  would  speak  so?  If  you  say  this 
of  useless  dogmas  about  matters  of  indifference, 
what  novelty  is  there  in  it  ?  Who  does  not  in 
such  cases  desire  the  licence  of  the  Sceptical  pro 
fession?  Nay,  what  Christian  does  not,  in  point 


of  fact,,  freely  use  this  licence  and  condemn  those  SECT.  n. 
who  are  the  sworn  captives  of  any  particular  sen-  ^~^ 
timent  ?    Unless  (as  your  words  almost  express)  shewn  to 
you  account  Christians,  taken  in  the  gross,  to  be  a  b.e  a  SceP- 
sort  of  men  whose   doctrines  are  of  no   value, 
though   they  be  foolish  enough  to  jangle  about 
them,  and  to  fight  the  battle  of  counter-assertion  ! 
If,  on  the  contrary,  you  speak  of  necessary  doc 
trines,  what  assertion  can  be  more  impious  than 
for  a  man  to  say,  that  he  wishes  to  be  at  liberty  to 
assert  nothing,  in  such  cases  ?     A  Christian  will 
rather  say,  e  So  far  am  I  from  delighting  in  the 
sentiment    of   the  Sceptics,   that,   wherever  the 
infirmity  of  my  flesh  suffers  me,  I  would  not  only 
adhere  firmly  to  the  word  of  God,  asserting  as  it 
asserts ;  but  would  even  wish  to  be  as  confident  as 
possible  in  matters  not  necessary,  and  which  fall 
without  the  limits  of  Scripture  assertion.'     For 
what  is  more  wretched  tlmn  uncertainty  ? 

Again ;  what  shall  we  say  to  the  words  subjoin 
ed,  ( to  which  I  in  all  things  willingly  submit  my 
judgment,  whether  I  understand  what  they  pre 
scribe,  or  not'?  What  is  this  you  say,  Erasmus  ? 
Is  it  not  enough  to  have  submitted  your  judgment 
to  Scripture?  do  you  submit  it  also  to  the  decrees 
of  the  Church?  What  has  she  power  to  decree, 
which  the  Scripture  has  not  decreed  ?  If  so,  what 
becomes  of  liberty,  and  of  the  power  of  judging 
those  dogmatists :  as  Paul  writes  in  1  Cor.  xiv. 
"  Let  the  others  judge?"  You  do  not  like,  it  seems, 
that  there  should  be  a  judge  set  over  the  decrees  of 
the  Church;  but  Paul  enjoins  it.  What  is  this 
new  devotedness  and  humility  of  yours,  that  you 
take  away  from  us  (as  far  as  your  example  goes) 
the  power  of  judging  the  decrees  of  men,  and 
submit  yourself  to  men,  blindfold?  Where  does 
the  divine  Scripture  impose  this  on  us?  Then 
again,  what  Christian  would  so  commit  the  in 
junctions  of  Scripture  and  of  the  Church  to  the 
winds,  as  to  say  '  whether  I  apprehend,  or  do  not 


PARTI,   apprehend.'     You  submit  yourself,  and  yet  do  not 

care  whether  you  apprehend  what  you  profess,  or 

not.  But  a  Christian  is  accursed,  if  he  do  not 
apprehend,  with  assurance,  the  things  enjoined  to 
him.  Indeed,  how  shall  he  believe  if  he  do  not  ap 
prehend  ?  For  you  call  it  apprehending  here,  if  a 
man  assuredly  receives  an  affirmation,  and  does 
not,  like  a  Sceptic,  doubt  it.  Else,  what  is  there 
that  any  man  can  apprehend  in  any  creature,  if  e  to 
apprehend  a  thing '  be  ' perfectly  to  know  and 
discern  it'?  Besides,  there  would  then  be  no 
place  for  a  man's  at  the  same  time  apprehending 
some  things,  and  not  apprehending  some  things,  in 
the  same  substance ;  but  if  he  have  apprehended 
one  thing,  he  must  have  apprehended  all :  as  in 
God,  for  instance ;  whom  we  must  apprehend,  be 
fore  we  can  apprehend  any  part  of  his  creation. 

In  short,  these  expressions  of  yours  come  to  this : 
that,  in  your  view,  it  is  no  matter  what  any  man 
believes  any  where,  if  but  the  peace  of  the  world 
be  preserved ;  and  that,  when  a  man's  life,  fame, 
property  and  good  favour  are  in  danger,  he  may 
be  allowed  to  imitate  the  fellow  who  said  'They 
affirm,  I  affirm ;  they  deny,  I  deny ;'  and  to  account 
Christian  doctrines  nothing  better  than  the  opi 
nions  of  philosophers  and  ordinary  men,  for  which 
it  is  most  foolish  to  wrangle,  contend  and  assert, 
because  nothing  but  contention  and  a  disturbing  of 
the  peace  of  the  world  results  therefrom.  f  What  is 
above  us,  is  nothing  to  us/  You  interpose  yourself^ 
as  a  mediator  who  would  put  an  end  to  our  conflicts 
by  hanging  both  parties  and  persuading  us  that  we 
are  fighting  for  foolish  and  useless  objects.  This 
is  what  your  words  come  to,  I  say ;  and  I  think  you 
understand  what  I  suppress  here,  my  Erasmus.5 

s  Luther  does  not  choose  to  speak  out  on  the  subject  of 
Erasmus's  scepticism  and  infidelity,  but  hints  pretty  broadly  at 
it.  There  is  but  too  strong  evidence  that  the  insinuation  was 
just ;  and  it  constituted  the  most  galling  part  of  his  attack. 
Erasmus's  object  was  to  rise  upon  the  ruins  of  Luther ;  but 


However,  let  the  words  pass,  as  I  have  said ;  and,  SECT.  HI. 

in  the  mean  time,  I  will  excuse  your  spirit,  on  the  

condition  that  you  manifest  it  no  further.  O  fear 
the  Spirit  of  God,  who  searches  the  reins  and  the 
hearts,  arid  is  not  beguiled  by  fine  words.  I  have 
said  thus  much  to  deter  you  from  hereafter  loading 
our  cause  with  charges  of  positiveness  and  inflexi 
bility  ;  for,  upon  this  plan,  you  only  shew  that  you 
are  nourishing  in  your  heart  a  Lucian,  or  some 
other  hog  of  the  Epicurean  sty,  who,  having  no  be 
lief  at  all  of  a  God  himself,  laughs  in  his  sleeve  at 
all  those  who  believe  and  confess  one.  Allow  us 
to  be  asserters,  to  be  studious  of  assertions,  and 
to  be  delighted  with  them  ;  but  thou,  meanwhile, 
bestow  thy  favour  upon  thy  Sceptics  and  Acade 
mics,  till  Christ  shall  have  called  even  thee  also. 
The  Holy  Ghost  is  no  Sceptic ;  nor  has  He  written 
dubious  propositions,  or  mere  opinions,  upon  our< 
hearts,  but  assertions  more  assured  and  more  firmly 
rooted  than  life  itself,  and  all  that  we  have  learned 
from  experience.11 

I   come    to  another   head,  which  is  of  a  piece  Christian 
with  this.     When  you  distinguish  between  chris-  truth]s  re; 

.         ,  J  ,     ,     '  vealed  and 

nan  dogmas,  you  pretend  that  some  are  necessary  ascertain- 
to  be  known,  and  some  unnecessary;  you  say  that  ed.nothid- 
some  are    shut  up,  and    some  exposed  to  view.1 
Thus,  you  either  mock  us  with  the  words  of  others, 
which  have  been  imposed  upon  yourself,  or  try 
your  hand  at  a  sort  of  rhetorical  sally  of  your  own. 
You  adduce,  in  support  of  your  sentiment,  that  say 
ing  of  Paul's  (Rom.  xi.  33.)  "  O  the  depth  of  the 
riches  both  of  the  wisdom  and  knowledge  of  God ;" 

with  what  face  could  the  Pope  or  the  Princes  prefer  an  Infidel  ? 
See  Milner's  Eccles.  Hist.  vol.  iv.  935 — 945. 

h  A  beautiful  testimony  to  the  confidence  inspired  into  the 
soul  by  the  Holy  Ghost's  teaching's  !  We  are  more  sure  of 
the  truth  of  His  assertions  than  that  we  lire ;  and  hold  them 
more  firmly  than  we  do  the  results  of  experience. 

1  Abstrusa,  cxposit(i.~\  Abst.  'thrust  from  us,'  as  into  secret 
places;  '  hidden  from  view,'  like  the  apocryphal  writings. 
Expos,  'set  out  in  broad  day/  like  goods  exposed  to  sale. 



PARTI,  and  that  of  Isaiah  too  (Isa.  xl.  13.)  "Who  hath 
assisted  the  Spirit  of  the  Lord,  or  who  hath  been 
his  counsellor"?  It  was  easy  for  you  to  say  these 
things,  either  as  one  who  knew  that  he  was  not 
writing  to  Luther,  but  for  the  multitude;  or  as  one 
\v  ho  did  not  consider  that  he  was  writing  against 
Luther:  to  whom  you  still  give  credit,  as  I  hope,  for 
some  study  and  discernment  in  the  Scriptures. 
If  not,  see  whether  I  do  not  even  extort  it  from 
you.  If  I  also  may  be  allowed  to  play  the  rheto 
rician,  or  logician,  for  a  moment,  [  would  make 
this  distinction  :  God,  and  the  writing  of  God, 
are  two  things ;  no  less  than  the  Creator,  and  the 
creature  of  God,  are  two  things.  Now,  that  there 
be  many  things  hidden  in  God,  which  we  are  igno 
rant  of,  no  one  doubts;  as  he  speaks  himself  of  the 
last  day,  "  Of  that  day  knoweth  no  man,  but  the 
Father."  (Matt.  xxiv.  36.)  And  again,  in  Acts  i. 
"It  is  not  for  you  to  know  the  times  and  the 
seasons."  And  again;  "I  know  whom  I  have 
chosen."k (John  xiii.  18.)  And  Paul  says,  "The 
Lord  knoweth  them  that  are  His"  :  (2  Tim.  ii.  19.) 
and  the  like.  But  that  some  dogmas  of  Scripture 
are  shut  up  in  the  dark,  and  all  are  not  exposed  to 
view,  has  been  rumoured,  it  is  true,  by  profane 
Sophists  (with  whose  mouth  you  also  speak  here, 
Erasmus),  but  they  have  never  produced  a  single  in 
stance,  nor  can  they  produce  one,  by  way  of  making 
good  this  mad  assertion  of  theirs.  Yet,  by  such 
hobgoblins  as  these,  Satan  has  deterred  men  from 
reading  the  sacred  writings;  and  has  rendered 
holy  Scripture  contemptible,  that  he  might  cause 
his  own  pestilent  heresies,  derived  from  philoso 
phy,  to  reign  in  the  Church.  I  confess  indeed 

k  Luther  appears  to  understand  this  text  as  most  do  :  '  lie 
knew  who  those  were  amongst  men,  whom  he  had  chosen  ;' 
with  a  supposed  reference  to  eternal  election.  But  the  Greek 
text  plainly  determines  it  to  mean,  f  I  know  the  real  character 
and  state  of  those  persons  whom  I  have  chosen  ;'  referring  to 
the  Twelve  exclusively,  as  those  whom  he  afterwards  (xv.  19.) 
declares  himself  to  have  chosen  out  of  the  world. 


that  many  passages  of  Scripture  are  obscure  and  SECT  in. 
shut  up;  not  so  much  through  the  vastness  of  the 
truths  declared  in  them,  as  through  our  ignorance 
of  words  and  grammar:  but  I  maintain  that  these  veaied  and 
do  not  at  all  prevent  our  knowledge  of  all  things  ascertain- 
contained  in  the  Scriptures.    For  what,  that  is  of  a  den?° 
more  august  nature,   can  yet  remain  concealed  in 
Scripture,  now  that,  after  the  breaking  of  the  seals, 
and  rolling  away  of  the  stone  from  the  door  of  the 
sepulchre,  that  greatest  of  all  mysteries  has  been 
spread  abroad,  that  ( Christ,  the  Son  of  God,  is 
made  man7;1  that  ( God  is  at  the  same  time  Three 
and   One;'  that  ' Christ  has  suffered  for  us,  and 
shall   reign  for  ever  and  ever'?     Are  not  these 
things  known,  and  even  sung  in  the  streets  ?  Take 
Christ  from  the  Scriptures,  and  what  will  you  any 
longer  find  in  them? 

The  things  contained  in  the  Scriptures,  then, 
are  all  brought  forth  into  view,  though  some  pas 
sages  still  remain  obscure,  through  our  not  under 
standing  the  words.  But  it  is  foolish  and  pro 
fane  to  know  that  all  the  truths  of  Scripture  are 
set  out  to  view  in  the  clearest  light,  and,  because 
a  few  words  are  obscure,  to  call  the  truths  them 
selves  obscure.  If  the  words  be  obscure  in  one 
place,  they  are  plain  in  another;  and  the  same  truth, 
declared  most  openly  to  the  whole  world,  is  both 
announced  in  the  Scriptures  by  clear  words,  and 
left  latent  by  means  of  obscure  ones.  But  of  what 
moment  is  it,  if  the  truth  itself  be  in  the  light,  that 
some  one  testimony  to  it  be  yet  in  the  dark  ;  when 
many  other  testimonies  to  the  same  truth,  mean 
while,  are  in  the  light  ?  Who  will  say  that  a 
public  fountain  is  not  in  the  light,  because  those 

1  ' '  Who  was  declared  to  be  the  Son  of  God  with  power,  ac 
cording  to  the  spirit  of  holiness,"  (opposed  to,  "  which  was 
made  of  the  seed  of  David  according  to  the  flesh,"  in  the 
preceding  verse)  "  by  the  resurrection  from  the  dead."  Rom.i.4. 
Fractis  signaculis.  The  stone  at  the  door  of  the  sepulchre 
was  sealed.  Matt,  xxvii.  65.  66. 



PARTI,    who  live  in  a  narrow  entry  do   not  see  it,   whilst 

all  who  live  in  the  market-place,  do  see  it  ?m 

SECT.  iv.      Your  allusion  to  the  Corycian  cave,"  therefore, 

is    nothing  to  the  purpose.     The  case  is  not   as 

•ScfriiptVie    y°u  represent  it,  with  respect  to  the  Scriptures, 
accusecfof  The  most  abstruse  mysteries,  and  those  of  greatest 
obscurity,    majesty,  are  no  longer  in  retreat,   but  stand  at 

the  very  door  of  the  cave,  in  open  space,  drawn 
out  and  exposed  to  view.  For  Christ  hath 
opened  our  understanding,  that  wre  should  un 
derstand  the  Scriptures.  (Luke  xxiv.  45.)  And 
the  Gospel  has  been  preached  to  every  creature. 
(Mark  xvi.  15.  Coloss.  i.  23.)  Their  sound 
has  gone  out  into  all  the  land.  (Ps.  xix.  4.)  And 
all  things  which  have  been  written,  have  been 
written  for  our  learning.  (Rom.  xv.  4.)  Also, 
all  Scripture  having  been  written  by  inspiration  of 
God,  is  useful  for  teaching.  (2  Tim.  iii.  16.) 
Thou,  therefore,  and  all  thy  Sophists  come  and 
produce  a  single  mystery  in  the  Scriptures,  which 
still  remains  shut  up.  The  fact,  that  so  many  truths 
are  still  shut  up  to  many,  arises  not  from  .any 
obscurity  in  the  Scriptures,  but  from  their  own 
blindness,  or  carelessness ;  which  is  such,  that 
they  take  no  pains  to  discern  the  truth,  though 
it  be  most  evident.  As  Paul  says  of  the  Jews, 
(2  Cor.  iii.  15.)  "The  veil  remains  upon  their 
heart."  And  again,  (2  Cor.  iv.  3,  4.)  "  If  our 
Gospel  be  hid,  it  is  hid  to  them  that  are  lost ; 
whose  hearts  the  G  od  of  this  world  hath  blinded." 
To  blame  Scripture,  in  this  matter,  is  a  rashness 
like  that  of  the  man  who  should  complain  of  the 
sun  and  of  the  darkness,  after  having  veiled  his 

m  Luther's  affirmation  and  argument  is  of  the  greatest  im 
portance  here.  All  the  truth  of  God,  he  maintains,  is  expli 
citly  and  intelligibly  declared  in  Scripture;  in  some  passages 
more  obscurely,  through  our  ignorance  of  words  ;  in  others 
more  manifestly  and  unequivocally:  but  there  is  no  truth, 
no  dogma,  that  is  not  distinctly  taught  and  confirmed. 

n  A  cave  of  singular  virtue  in  Mount  Cory c us  of  Cilicia, 
supposed  to  be  inhabited  by  the  Gods. 


own  eyes,  or  gone  from  out  of  the  day-light  into  SEC.  iv. 
a  dark  room  to  bide  himself.  Then  let  these  - 
wretches  cease  from  such  a  blasphemous  per- 

verseness  as  to  impute  the  darkness  and  dulness  accused  of 
of  their  own  minds  to  the  Scriptures  of  God;  obscurity. 
which  are  light  itself. 

So,  when  you  adduce  Paul  exclaiming  "how 
incomprehensible  are  his  judgments  "  you  seem  to 
have  referred  the  pronoun  HIS  to  the  Scripture. 
But  Paul  does  not  say  how  incomprehensible  are 
the  judgments  of  Scripture,  but  of  God.  Thus 
Isaiah  (Isai.  xl.  13.)  does  not  say  '  who  hath 
known  the  mind  of  Scripture,'  but,  "  who  hath 
known  the  mind  of  the  Lord?"  Howbeit,  Paul 
asserts  that  the  mind  of  the  Lord  is  known  to 
Christians  :  but  then  it  is  about  <f  those  things 
which  have  been  freely  given  to  us";  as  he  speaks 
in  the  same  place.  (1  Cor.  ii.  10.  16.)  You  see, 
therefore,  how  carelessly  you  have  inspected  these 
passages  of  Scripture;  which  you  have  cited,  about 
as  aptly  as  you  have  done  nearly  all  your  others 
in  support  of  Freewill.  And  thus,  your  instances, 
which  you  subjoin  with  a  good  deal  of  suspicion 
and  venom,  are  nothing  to  the  purpose  ;  such  as 
'  the  distinction  of  Persons  in  the  Godhead/  '  the 
combination  of  the  divine  and  human  nature,'  and 
'  the  unpardonable  sin:'  whose  ambiguity,  you  say, 
has  not  even  yet  been  clean  removed.0  If  you 
allude  to  questions  which  the  Sophists  have 
agitated  on  these  subjects,  I  am  ready  to  ask  what 
that  most  innocent  volume  of  Scripture  hath  done 
to  you,  that  you  should  charge  her  with  the  abuse, 
with  which  wicked  men  have  contaminated  her 
purity?  Scripture  simply  makes  confession  of 
the  Trinity  of  Persons  in  God,  of  the  humanity  of 
Christ,  and  of  the  unpardonable  sin  :  what  is  there 

0  Rescctitm.~\  Erasmus's  term  j  taken  from  fthe  dose  cutting  of 
the  nails,  or  hair,  or  heard  ;"  or,  from  '  the  excision  of  the 
unsound  flesh  in  wounds.'  It  implies,  that  all  the  ambiguity  is 
not  yet  withdrawn,  though  some  of  it  may  be, 


PART  i.  of  obscurity,  or  of  ambiguity  here  ?  How  these 
things  subsist,  the  Scripture  has  not  told  us,  as 
you  pretend  it  has ;  nor  have  we  any  need  to  know. 
The  Sophists  discuss  their  own  dreams  on  these  sub 
jects  :  accuse  and  condemn  them,  if  you  please,  but 
acquit  Scripture.  If,  on  the  other  hand,  you 
speak  of  the  essential  truth,  and  not  of  factitious 
questions,  I  say  again,  do  not  accuse  Scripture, 
but  the  Arians,  and  those  to  whom  the  Gospel  is 
hid,  to  such  a  degree,  that  they  have  no  eye  to  see 
the  clearest  testimonies  in  support  of  the  Trinity 
of  Persons  in  God,  and  the  humanity  of  Christ; 
through  the  working  of  Satan,  who  is  their  God. 

To  be  brief;  there  is  a  twofold  clearness  in 
Scripture,  even  as  there  is  also  a  twofold  obscu 
rity:  the  one  external,  contained  intheministeriality 
of  the  word  ;  the  other  internal,  which  consists  in 
that  knowledge  which  is  of  the  heart.p  If  you  speak 
of  this  internal  clearness,  no  one  discerns  an  iota 
of  Scripture,  but  he  who  has  the  Spirit  of  God.  All 
men  have  a  darkened  heart :  so  that,  even  though 
they  should  repeat  and  be  able  to  quote  every 
passage  of  Scripture,  they  neither  understand  nor 
truly  know  any  thing  that  is  contained  in  these 
passages ;  nor  do  they  believe  that  there  is  a  God, 
pr  that  they  are  themselves  God's  creatures,  or 
any  thing  else.  According  to  what  is  written 
;in  Psalm  xiv. ;  "  The  fool  hath  said  in  his  heart, 
God  is  nothing."  (Ps.  xiv.  1.)  For  the  Spirit 
is  necessary  to  the  understanding  of  the  whole 
of  Scripture,  and  of  any  part  of  it.  But  if  you 
speak  of  that  external  clearness,  nothing  at  all 

p  Luther  refers  back  to  this  passage  in  the  progress  of  his 
work.  (See  below,  Chap.  ii.  Sect,  xiii.)  It  is  not  the  public 
ministry  of  the  word,  but  its  instrumentality  in  general,  of 
which  he  here  .speaks.  Scripture  reveals  truth  to  the  ear,  and 
reveals  truth  to  the  heart.  The  former  of  these  he  calls  an 
external  clearness.  The  word  which  falls  upon  the  ear  is  a  plain 
and  clear  word.  The  other  he  calls  an  internal  clearness.  The 
truth  which  is  contained  in  Scripture,  and  conveyed  by  a  clear 
and  plain  word,  is  understanded  by  the  heart. 


has  been  left  obscure,  or  ambiguous ;  but  every  SECT.  v. 

thing  that  is  contained  in  the  Scriptures  has  been  ; 

drawn  out  into  the  most  assured  light,  and  de 
clared  to  the  whole  world,  by  the  rninisteriality  of 
the  word. 

But  it  is  still  more  intolerable,  that  you  Freewill  a 
should  class  this  question  of  Freewill  with  those  necessary 
which  are  useless  and  unnecessary,  and  should  su  je° 
recount  a  number  of  articles  to  us  in  its  stead,  the 
reception  of  which  you  deem  sufficient  to  con 
stitute  a  pious  Christian.  Assuredly,  any  Jew  or 
Heathen,  who  had  no  knowledge  at  all  of  Christ, 
would  find  it  easy  enough  to  draw  out  such  a  pat 
tern  of  faith  as  yours.  You  do  not  mention  Christ 
in  a  single  jot  of  it ;  as  though  you  thought  that 
Christian  piety  might  subsist  without  Christ,  if 
but  God,  whose  nature  is  most  merciful,  be  wor 
shipped  with  all  our  might.  What  shall  I  say 
here,  Erasmus  ?  Your  whole  air  is  Lucian,  and 
your  breath  a  vast  surfeit  of  Epicurus  ?q  If  you 
account  this  question  an  unnecessary  one  for 
Christians,  take  yourself  off  the  stage,  pray :  we 
account  it  necessary. 

If  it  be  irreligious,  if  it  be  curious,  if  it  be  su 
perfluous,  as  you  say  it  is,  to  know  whether  God 
foreknows  any  thing  contingently ;  whether  our 
will  be  active  in  those  things  which  pertain  to 
everlasting  salvation,  or  be  merely  passive,  grace 
meanwhile  being*  the  agent;  whether  we  do  by 
mere  necessity  (which  we  must  rather  call  suffer) 
whatever  we  do  of  good  or  evil,  what  will  then  be 
religious  I  would  ask  ?  what,  important  ?  what, 
useful  to  be  known?  This  is  perfect  trifling, 
Erasmus  !  This  is  too  much.  Nor  is  it  easy  to 
attribute  this  conduct  of  yours  to  ignorance.  An 
old  man  like  you,  who  has  lived  amongst  Chris 
tians  and  has  long  revolved  the  Scriptures,  leaves 

i '  Totus  Lucianum  spiras  et  inhalas  mihi  grandem  Epicuri 
crapulam ' .  Luc.  One  of  the  most  noted  satirical  blas 
phemers  of  Christianity :  Epic,  An  atheistic  heathen  philo 
sopher^  who  inculcated  pleasure  aud  indifference. 


PART.  I.  us  no  place  for  excusing  or  thinking  favourably  of 

him.    Yet  the  Papists  pardon  these  strange  things 

in  you,  and  bear  with  you,  because  you  are 
writing  against  Luther.  Men  who  would  tear  you 
with  their  teeth,  if  Luther  were  out  of  the  way 
and  you  should  write  such  things !  Plato  is  my 
friend,  Socrates  is  my  friend,  but  I  must  honour 
truth  before  both.  For  although  you  knew  but 
little  about  the  Scriptures  and  about  Christianity, 
even  the  enemy  of  Christians  might  surely  have 
known  what  Christians  account  necessary  and 
useful,  and  what  they  do  not.  But  you,  a  theolo 
gian  and  a  master  of  Christians,  when  setting 
about  to  prescribe  a  form  of  Christianity  to  them, 
do  not,  what  might  at  least  have  been  expected 
of  you,  hesitate  after  your  usual  sceptical  manner, 
as  to  what  is  necessary  and  useful  to  them ;  but 
glide  into  the  directly  opposite  extreme,  and 
in  a  manner  contrary  to  your  usual  temper,  by 
a  sort  of  assertion  never  heard  of  before,  sit  now 
as  judge,  and  pronounce  those  things  to  be  unne 
cessary  which,  if  they  be  not  necessary  and  be  not 
certainly  known,  there  is  neither  a  God,  nor  a 
Christ,  nor  a  Gospel,  nor  a  faith,  nor  any  thing 
else  even  of  Judaism,  much  less  of  Christianity, 
left  behind.  Immortal  God !  what  a  window  shall  I 
say?  what  a  field  rather,  does  Erasmus  hereby  open 
for  acting  and  speaking  against  himself!  What 
could  you  possibly  write  on  the  subject  of  Free 
will,  which  should  have  any  thing  of  good  or  right 
in  it,  when  you  betray  such  ignorance  of  Scripture 
and  of  piety,  in  these  words  of  yours?  But  I  will  furl 
my  sails,  and  will  talk  with  you  here,  not  in  my 
own  words,  (as  1  perhaps  shall  do  presently)  but  in 

SECT.  vi.        The   form  of  Christianity  chalked  out  by  you 
has  this  article  amongst  others,  that  we  must  strive 

Erasmus's   w^h  all  our  might;  that  we  must  apply  ourselves 

Chris-  .        ,  ,      ^>  r .r  J 

tianity.  to  the  remedy  of  repentance,  and  solicit  the  mercy 
of  God  by  all  means :  without  this  mercy,  nei 
ther  the  will,  nor  the  endeavour  of  man,  is  effica- 


cious.     Also,    that   no   man    should    despair    of  SECT.VI. 

pardon  from  God,  whose  nature  it  is  to  be  most 

merciful.  These  words  of  yours,  in  which  there  chrLT"5'8 
is  no  mention  of  Christ,  no  mention  of  the  Spirit;  tianity. 
which  are  colder  than  ice  itself,  so  that  they  have 
not  even  your  wonted  grace  of  eloquence  in  them; 
and  which,  perhaps,  the  fear  of  Priests  and  Kings r 
had  hard  work  to  wring  from  the  pitiful  fellow, 
that  he  might  not  appear  quite  an  Atheist ;  do 
nevertheless  contain  some  assertions  :  as,  that  we 
have  strength  in  ourselves;  that  there  is  such  a 
thing  as  striving  with  all  our  strength ;  that  there 
is  such  a  thing  as  God's  mercy ;  that  there  are 
means  of  soliciting  mercy;  that  God  is  by  nature 
just ;  by  nature  most  merciful,  &c.  &c.  If  then 
any  one  be  ignorant,  what  those  powers  are,  what 
they  do,  what  they  suffer,  what  their  striving  is, 
what  its  efficacy,  and  what  its  inefficacy;  what 
shall  he  do  ?  what  will  you  teach  him  to  do  ?  It 
is  irreligious,  curious,  and  superfluous,  you  say,  to 
wish  to  know  whether  our  will  be  active  in  those 
things  which  pertain  to  everlasting  salvation,  or  be 
only  passive  under  the  agency  of  grace.  But  here 
you  say,  on  the  contrary,  that  it  is  Christian  piety 
to  strive  with  all  our  might ;  and  that  the  will  is 
not  efficacious  without  the  mercy  of  God.  In  these 
words,  it  is  plain,  you  assert  that  the  will  does 
something  in  matters  which  appertain  to  everlast 
ing  salvation,  since  you  suppose  it  to  strive ;  on 
the  other  hand,  you  assert  it  to  be  passive,  when 
you  say  that  it  is  inefficacious  without  the  mercy 
of  God  :  howbeit,  you  do  not  explain  how  far  that 
activity  and  that  passiveness  are  to  be  understood 
to  extend.  Thus,  you  do  what  you  can  to  make 

r  Pont'ificum  et  Tyrannorum.~]  These  names  comprehend  the 
whole  tribe  of  Popes,  Cardinals,  and  Princes,  by  which  the 
ecclesiastical  and  civil  power  of  the  Roman  empire  was  now 
administered.  Pont.  '  Priests  of  high  dignity,'  generally  ;  not 
confined  to  the  Pope,  but  including  also  his  Cardinals.  Tyran. 
'  The  civil  rulers  throughout  the  empire  :'  in  Latin,  used  more 
generally  in  a  bad  sense,  to  denote  '  usurped  authority  exer 
cised  with  fierceness  and  violence  ;'  but  not  always. 


PART.  i.  us  ignorant  what  is  the  efficacy  of  our  own  will 

"  arid  what  the  efficacy  of  the  mercy  of  God,,  in  that 

very  place  in  which  you  teach  us  what  is  the  con 
joint  efficacy  of  both.  That  prudence  of  yours,  by 
which  you  have  determined  to  keep  clear  of  both 
parties,  and  to  emerge  in  safety  between  Scylla 
and  Charybdis,  so  whirls  you  round  and  round  in 
its  vortex;  that,  being  overwhelmed  with  waves 
and  confounded  with  fears a  in  the  midst  of  the 
passage,  you  assert  all  that  you  deny,  and  deny 
all  that  you  assert. 
SEC.  vii.  I  will  expose  your  theology  to  you,  by  two  or 

three  similes.     What  if  a  man,  setting  about  to 

Erasmus's  make  a  good  poem  or  speech,  should  not  consider 
expose! by  or  inquire,  of  what  sort  his  genius  is  ;  what  he  is 
similies.  equal  to,  and  what  not ;  what  the  subject  which 
he  has  taken  in  hand  requires ;  but,  altogether 
neglecting  that  precept  of  Horace,  '  what  your 
shoulders  are  able  to  bear,  and  what  is  too  heavy 
for  them/  should  only  rush  headlong  upon  his 
attempt  to  execute  the  work ;  as  thinking  within 
himself,  that  he  must  try  and  get  it  done ;  and  that 
it  would  be  superfluous  and  curious  to  inquire> 
whether  he  have  the  erudition,  the  powers  of 
language,  and  the  genius,  which  the  task  requires? 
What  if  a  man,  anxious  to  reap  abundant  fruits 
from  his  ground,  should  not  be  curious  to  exercise 
a  superfluous  care  in  exploring  the  nature  of  his 
soil,  as  Virgil  in  his  Georgics  curiously  and 
vainly  teaches  us ;  but  should  hurry  on  rashly,  and 
having  no  thought  but  about  finishing  his  work, 
should  plough  the  shore,  and  cast  in  his  seed 
wherever  there  is  an  open  space,  whether  it  be 
sand  or  mud  ?  What  if  a  man,  going  to  war  and 
desirous  of  a  splendid  victory,  or  having  some 
other  service  to  perform  for  the  state,  should  not  be 
curious  to  consider  what  he  is  able  to  effect ;  whe 
ther  his  treasury  be  rich  enough,  whether  his  sol" 
diers  be  expert,  whether  he  have  any  power  to  exe- 

8  Confusus,  expresses  the  state  of  the  mariner's  mind.:J}actibits 
obrutus,  his  drowning  body. 


cute  his  design;  but  should  altogether  despise  that  SEC.  vn. 

precept  of  the  historian,  'before  you  act,  there  is  • 

need  of  deliberation,  when  you  have  deliberated,  J^™115'8 
you  must  be  quick  to  execute;'  and  should  rush  on,  exposed  by 
with  his  eyes  shut  and  his  ears  stopped,  crying  out  similies- 
nothing  but  "  war  "  "war,"  and  vehemently  pursu 
ing  his  work?     What  judgment  would  you  pro 
nounce,  Erasmus,  upon  such  poets,  husbandmen, 
generals,  and  statesmen  ?  I  will  add  that  simile  in 
the  Gospel.    If  any  man,  going  about  to  build  a 
tower,  sitteth  not  down  first,  and  counteth  the  cost, 
whether  he  hath  wherewithal  to  finish  it ;  what  is 
Christ's  judgment  upon  that  man  ? 

Thus,  you  command  us  only  to  work,  au(l  forbid 
us  first  of  all  to  explore  and  measure,  or  ascer 
tain  our  strength,  what  we  can  do,  and  what  we  can 
not  do  ;  as  though  this  were  curious,  unnecessary 
and  irreligious.  The  effect  of  which  is,  that,  whilst 
through  excessive  prudence  you  deprecate  teme 
rity,  and  make  a  shew  *  of  sober-mindedness,  you 
come  at  last  to  the  extreme  of  even  counselling 
the  greatest  temerity.  For,  although  the  Sophists 
act  rashness  and  insanity,  by  discussing  curious  u 
subjects,  yet  is  their  offence  milder  than  yours; 
who  even  teach  and  command  men  to  be  mad  and 
rash.  To  make  this  insanity  still  greater,  you 
persuade  us  that  this  temerity  is  most  beautiful ; 
that  it  is  Christian  piety,  sobriety,  religious  gra 
vity,  and  soundness  of  mind.  Nay,  if  we  do  not 
act  it,  you,  who  are  such  an  enemy  to  assertions, 
assert  that  we  are  irreligious,  curious,  and  vain  : v 
so  beautifully  have  you  escaped  your  Scylla,  whilst 
you  have  avoided  your  Charybdis.  It  is  your  con- 

1  Detestaris,  prcetendisJ]  Detest,  deprecari,  amoliri,  avertere, 
deos  invocando.  Pra-ttnd., '  to  put  forwards  as  a  reason  for  act 
ing,  whether  truly  or  falsely.'  ; 

u  CwrioA-a.]  Applied  in  a  bad  sense  to  '  things  we  have  no  busi 
ness  with,'  '  curionns  dicitur  nonnunquam  de  iis  qui  nimia  cur£ 
utuntur  in  rebus  alienis  exquirendis.' 

v  Vanos  answers  to  supervacaneos  used  above,  expressing  their 
'  unprofitableness;'  '  idle  speculators.' 


PART.  I.  fidence  in  your  own  talents  which '  drives  you  to 

this  point.     You  think  you  can  impose  upon  men's 

minds  by  your  eloquence,   to  such  a  degree,  that 
no  man  shall  be  able  to  perceive  what  a  monster 
you  are  cherishing  in  your  bosom,  and  what  an 
object  you  are  labouring  to  achieve  by  these  slip 
pery    writings    of    yours.      But    "  God    is    not 
mocked ;"  nor  is  it  good  for  a  man  to  strike  upon 
such  a  rock  as  HIM. 

Besides,  if  you  had  taught  us  this  rashness  in 
making  poems,  in  procuring  the  fruits  of  the  earth, 
in  conducting  wars  and  civil  employments,  or  in 
building  houses ;  though  it  would  be  intolerable, 
especially  in  a  man  like  yourself,  you  would  after 
all  have  deserved  some  indulgence  from  Chris 
tians  at  least,  who  despise  temporal  things.  But, 
when  you  command  even  Christians  to  be  these  rash 
workmen,  and,  in  the  very  matter  of  their  eternal 
salvation,  insist  upon  their  being  incurious  as  to 
their  natural  powers,  what  they  can  do  and  what 
they  cannot  do ;  this,  surely,  is  an  offence  which 
cannot  be  pardoned.  For,  they  will  not  know 
what  they  are  doing,  so  long  as  they  are  ignorant 
what,  and  how  much  they  can  do ;  and  if  they 
know  not  what  they  are  doing,  they  cannot  pos 
sibly  repent  should  they  be  in  error;  and  impeni 
tence  is  an  unpardonable  sin.  To  such  an  abyss, 
does  that  moderate,  sceptical  theology  of  yours 
conduct  us ! 
SEC. VIIL  It  is  not  irreligious,  then,  nor  curious,  nor 

superfluous,  but  most  of  all  useful  and  necessary 

Absolute     to  a  Christian,  to  know  whether  the  will  does  any 
"f  IhTsub-  thing,  or  nothing,  in  the  matter  of  salvation.  Nay, 
ject  of       to  say  the  truth,  this  is  the  very  hinge  of  our  dis- 
order"!! m  Putation ;  the  very  question  at  issue  turns  upon 
true  piety.  it.x    We  are  occupied  in  discussing,  what  the  free 

will  does,  what  the  free  will  suffers,  what  is  its 

x  Status  causce  hujus.']  '  Status  a  rhetoribus  dicitur  qutestio, 
quae  ex  prima  causarum  conflictione  nascitur ;  quia  in  eo  tota 
causa  stat  et  consistit.' 


proportion  to  the  grace  of  God.     If  we  be  igno-  SEC.VIII. 

rant  of  these   things,  we  shall  know  nothing  at  • 

all  about  Christianity,  and  shall  be  worse  than  Absolu.te 

»/  f  ncccssitv 

Heathens.     The  man  who   does  not  understand  Of  the  sub- 
this  subject,  let  him  acknowledge  that. he  is  no  Ject  °f 

c\\     -A-  >n  1  i  "  -A      Freewill  in 

Christian.     Ine  man  who  censures  or  despises  it,  order  to 
let  him  know  that  he  is  the  worst  enemy  of  Chris-  true 
tians.     For,  if  I  know  not,  what,  how  far,  and  how<piety' 
much,  I  can,  of  my  own  natural  powers,  do  and 
effect  towards  God;  it  will  be  alike  uncertain  and 
unknown  to  me,  what,  how  far,  and  how  much, God 
can  and  does  effect  in  me:  whereas  God  "worketh  \ 
all  in  all !"  y 

Again ;  if  I  know  not  the  works  and  power  of 
God,  I  know  not  God  himself;  and  if  I  know  not 
God,  I  cannot  worship,  praise,  give  him  thanks, 
serve  him;  being  ignorant  how  much  I  ought  to 
attribute  to  myself,  and  how  much  to  God.  We1; 
ought  therefore  to  distinguish,  with  the  greatest1 
clearness,  between  God's  power  and  our  own' 
power,  between  God's  work  and  our  own  work;  ii 
we  would  live  piously. 

You  see  then,  that  this  question  is  the .  one 
part z  of  the  whole  sum  of  Christianity  !  Both  the 
knowledge  of  ourselves,  and  the  knowledge  and 
glory  of  God,  are  dependent  upon  the  hazard  of 
its  decision.  It  is  insufferable  in  you,  then,  my 
Erasmus,  to  call  the  knowledge  of  this  truth  irreli 
gious,  curious  and  vain.  We  owe  much  to  you, 
But  we  owe  all  to  piety.  Nay,  you  think  yourself, 
that  all  good  is  to  be  ascribed  to  God,  and  you 
assert  this  in  the  description  you  have  given  us:  of 
your  own  Christianity.  And  if  you  assert  this, 
you  unquestionably  assert  in  the  same  words  that 

y  Omnla  in  OJnhifctw.]  Not  only  '  all  things  in  all  men ;'  but 
'all  things  in  all  tilings  i  every  jot  and  tittle  in  every  single  thing 
that  is  done. 

z  Partem  alterant. ~]  Opposed  to  '  altera  pars  '  in  the  next 
section  :  considering  the  sum  of  Christian  doctrine,  as  divisible 
into  these  two  integral  parts. 


PART  I.   the  mercy  of  God  does  all,  and  that  our  will  acts 
-  •  nothing,  but  rather  is  acted  upon  ;  else,  all  will 
not  be  attributed  to  God.    But,  a  little  while  after 
you  declare,  that  the  assertion,  and  even  the  know 
ledge  of  this  truth,  is  neither  religious,  pious,  nor 
/salutary.     However,  the  mind  which  is  inconsis 
tent  with  itself,  and  which  is  uncertain  and  an- 
*  skilled  in  matters  of  piety,  is  obliged  to  speak  so. 
SECT.IX.       The  other  part  of  the  sum  of  Christianity,  /is  to 
know  whether  God  foreknows  any  thing  c^ntin- 
ffentfy>   an(^   whether  we   do    every  thing   tteces- 


ted  the  sarily.  This  part  also  you  represent  as  irreligious, 
question  of  curious,  and  vain  ;  as  all  other  profane  men  do. 
1  C~  Nay,  the  devils  and  the  damned  represent  5t  as 
utterly  odious  and  detestable  :  and  you  are  very 
wise  in  withdrawing  yourself  from  these  questions, 
if  you  may  be  allowed  to  do  so.  But,  in  the  mean 
time,  you  are  not  much  of  a  rhetorician  or  a  theo 
logian,  when  you  presume  to  speak  and  to  teach 
about  Freewill,  without  these  parts.  I  will  be 
your  whetstone;  and,  though  no  rhetorician  my 
self,  will  remind  an  exquisite  rhetorician  of  his 
duty.  If  Quintilian  proposing  to  write  on  ora 
tory  should  say,  '  In  my  judgment  those  foolish 
and  useless  topics  of  invention,  distribution,  elo 
cution,  memory,  and  delivery  should  be  omitted; 
suffice  it  to  know  that  oratory  is  the  art  of  speak 
ing  well  ;'  would  not  you  laugh  at  the  artist?  This 
is  precisely  your  method.  Professing  to  write  about 
Freewill,  you  begin  with  driving  away,  and  casting 
off,  the  whole  body,  and  all  the  members  of  this 
art,  which  you  propose  to  write  about.  For,  it  is 
impossible  that  you  should  understand  what  Free 
will  is,  until  you  know  what  the  human  will  has 
power  to  do,  and  what  God  does;  whether  he 
foreknows,  or  not  ?  a 

a  An  pra>sciat.~\  The  Newstadt  editor  inserts  the  word  neces- 
sariu  here.  It  is  not  needed.  What  is  foreknowledge,  if  it  be 
not  absolute  ;  i.e.  if  the  event  be  not  inevitable,  or  necessary  ? 


Do  not  even  your  rhetoricians  teach  you,  that,  SECT.IX. 
when  a  man  is  going  to  speak  upon  any  matter, 

he  must  first  speak  to  the  point  whether  there  be 

,  i       -j  •  -j     "as 

such  a  thing,  or  no  ;  then,  what  it  is  ;  what  are  its  ted  the 

parts  ;  what  its  contraries,  its  affinities,  and  question  of 
its  similitudes.  But  you  strip  poor  Freewill, 
wretched  as  she  is  in  herself,  of  all  these  appendages, 
and  define  b  none  of  the  questions  which  apper 
tain  to  her,  save  the  first;  whether  there  be  such  a 
thing  as  Freewill?  By  what  sort  of  arguments  you 
do  this,  we  shall  see  presently.  A  more  foolish 
book  on  Freewill  I  never  beheld,  if  eloquence  of 
style  be  excepted.  The  Sophists,  forsooth,  who 
know  nothing  of  rhetoric,  have  here  at  least 
proved  better  logicians  than  you ;  for  in  their 
essays  on  Freewill  they  define  all  its  questions ; 
such  as,  '  whether  it  be ;'  'what  it  is;'  'what  it 
does ;'  c  how  it  is/  &c.  &c.  Howbeit,  neither  do 
even  they  complete c  what  they  attempt.  I  will 
therefore  goad  d  both  you  and  all  the  Sophists  in 
this  treatise  of  mine,  until  ye  define  the  powers 
and  the  performances  of  Freewill6  to  me;  yea, 

bDffinis.']  Def.  does  not  express  simply  what  we  understand  and 
mean  by  '  a  definition  ;'  but  '  a  laying  out  of  the  subject  matter 
of  debate  in  propositions,  and  a  supporting  of  those  proposi 
tions  by  argument'.  Such  were  Luther's  several  Theses ;  with 
ninety-five  of  which,  he  first  opened  his  attack  upon  the  Pope- 
dom ;  or  rather  upon  the  doctrine  of  Indulgences  :  a  form  of 
discussion  common  in  those  times.  Perhaps  our  English  word 
'  determine  '  comes  nearest  to  it. 

c  Efficiunt  quod  tcntantJ]     They  do  not  go  through  with  the 

matter  in  hand,  but  leave  it  short :  the  '  vires  et  opera '  are  still 

undefined  5  neither  distinctly  affirmed,  nor  satisfactorily  proved. 

d   Urgebo.~\     '  Driving,   as   you  would    drive   cattle,    or    an 

enemy,  before  you.' 

e  Liberi  arbitrii  vires  et  opera. ~\  Foluntas  is  '  the  faculty  of  the 
will  at  large.'  Arbitrium,  '  the  essence,  spirit,  power  of  that 
faculty.'  Erasmus  maintains  this  power  to  be  free ;  Luther,  that  it 
is  in  bondage.  Hence  '  liberum  arbitrium,'  '  servum  arbitrium.' 
I  is,  or  vires  arbitrii,  '  the  power  or  powers  of  this  power.'  Vis, 
or  vires  liberi  arbitrii  ;  '  the  power  or  powers  of  this  power,  as 
declared  by  Erasmus  to  be  free  ;'  and  so,  just  corresponds  with 
jur  idea  and  term  of  '  Freewill.'  '  You  shall  define  to  me,  what 



ART  I.   so  goad  you,  with  Christ's  help,  that  I  hope  1 

-  shall  make  you  repent  of  having  published  your 

SECT.X.       It  is  most  necessary  and  most  salutary,   then, 

-  for  a  Christian  to  know  this  also  ;  that  God  fore- 
God's  fore-  knows  nothing  contingently,  but  foresees,  and  pur- 

knowledge  T°I         J  ,,  •  / 

absolute,  poses,  and  accomplishes  every  thing,  by  an  un- 
ws  from  changeable,  eternal,  and  infallible  will.  But,  by 
this  thunderbolt,  Freewill  is  struck  to  the  earth  and 
completely  ground  to  powder.  Those  who  would 
assert  Freewill,  therefore,  must  either  deny,  or 
disguise,  or,  by  some  other  means,  repel  this  thun 
derbolt  from  them.  However,  before  I  establish  it 
by  my  own  argumentation  and  the  authority  of 
Scripture,  I  will  first  of  all  encounter  you  per 
sonally,  with  your  own  words.  Are  not  you  that 
Erasmus,  who  just  now  asserted,  that  it  is  God's  na 
ture  to  be  just,  that  it  is  God's  nature  to  be  most 
merciful?  If  this  be  true,  does  it  not  follow,  that 
he  is  UNCHANGEABLY  just  and  merciful  ;  that,  as 
his  nature  changes  not  unto  eternity,  so  neither 
doth  his  justice  or  his  mercy  change  ?  But 
what  is  said  of  his  justice  and  mercy,  must  he 
said  also  of  his  knowledge,  wisdom,  goodness, 
will,  and  other  divine  properties.  If  these  things, 
then,  be  asserted  religiously,  piously,  and  profit 
ably  concerning  God,  as  you  write  ;  what  has 
happened  to  you,  that,  in  disagreement  with  your 
self,  you  now  assert  it  to  be  irreligious,  curious, 
and  vain,  to  affirm  that  God  foreknows  necessarily? 
<Is  it  that  you  think,  that,  '  he  either  foreknoivs 
j  what  he  does  not  toill,  or  wills  what  he  does  not 
^foreknow  ?'  If  he  wills  what  he  foreknows,  his 
will  is  eternal  and  immutable,  for  it  is  part  of  his 
nature  :  if  he  foreknows  what  he  wills,  his  know- 

are  the  powers  of  this  faculty,  which  is  thus  supposed  and  main 
tained  by  you  to  be  free.'  This  is  just  the  crux  of  modern  Free- 
willers,  as  it  was  of  Erasmus.  They  get  on  pretty  well,  till 
they  are  compelled  to  define. 


ledge  is  eternal  and  immutable,  for  it  is  part  of  liis  SECT.  x. 

Hence  it  irresistibly  follows,  that  all  which  we 
do,  and  all  which  happens,  although  it  seem  to 
happen  mutably  and  contingently,  does  in  reality 
happen  necessarily  and  unalterably,  insofar  as 
respects  the  will  of  God.  For  the  will  of  God  is 
efficacious,  and  such  as  cannot  be  thwarted ;  since 
the  power  of  God  is  itself  a  part  of  his  nature  :  it 
is  also  wise,  so  that  it  cannot  be  misled.  And 
since  his  will  is  not  thwarted,  the  work  which 
he  wills  cannot  be  prevented ;  but  must  be  pro 
duced  in  the  very  place,  time,  and  measure  which 
he  himself  both  foresees  and  wills.  If  the  will  of 
God  were  such  as  to  cease  after  he  has  made  a 
work  which  remains  the  same,  as  is  the  case  with 
man's  will  when,  after  having  builded  a  house  as 
he  willed,  his  will  concerning  it  ceases;  as  it 
| does  in  death;  then  it  might  be  truly  said,  that 
some  events  are  brought  to  pass  contingently  and 
mutably.  But  here,  on  the  contrary,  so  far  is  it 
from  being  the  case,  that  the  work  itself  either 
comes  into  existence,  or  continues  in  existence 
contingently,  by  being  made  and  remaining  in 
being  when  the  will  to  have  it  so  hath  ceased; 
that  the  work  itself  ceases,  but  the  will  remains. 
,Now,  if  we  would  use  words  so  as  not  to  abuse 
them,  a  work  is  said  in  Latin  to  be  done  contin 
gently,  but  is  never  said  to  be  itself  contingent. 

•  7 


fThis  abstruse  but  irresistible  deduction  from  Erasmus's 
Concession  may  perhaps  be  stated  a  little  more  familiarly,  thus: 
'If  Cod  does  not  foreknow  all  events  absolutely,  there  must  be 
•:\  defect  either  in  his  will,  or  in  his  knowledge  ;  what  happens 
.must  either  be  against  his  will,  or  beside  his  knowledge.  Either 
he  meant  otherwise  than  the  event,  or  had  no  meaning  at  all 
about  the  event  ;  or,  lie  foresaw  another  event,  or  did  not 
foresee  any  event  at  all.  But  the  truth  is,  what  he  willed  in 
past  eternity,  he  wills  now  ;  the  thing  now  executed  is  what 
he  has  intended  to  execute  from  everlasting  ;  for  his  will  is 
eternal :  just  as  the  thing  which  has  now  happened  is  what  he 
>aw  in  past  eternity ;  because  his  knowledge  is  eternal. 





to  term 
'  necessity' 
admitted  : 
of  the  dis 
of  a  con 
and  of  a 


The  meaning  is,  that  a  work  has  been  performed 
by  a  contingent  and  mutable  will ;  such  as  is  not 
in  God.  Besides,  a  work  cannot  be  called  a  con 
tingent  one,  except  it  be  done  by  us  contingently 
and  .as  it  were  by  accident,  without  any  fore 
thought  on  our  part;  being  so  called,  because  our 
will  or  hand  seizes  hold  of  it  as  a  thing  thrown  in 
our  way  by  accident,  and  we  have  neither  thought 
nor  willed  any  thing  about  it  before. 

*  I  could  have  wished  indeed,  that  another  and  a 
better   word  had   been  introduced  into  our  dis 
putation  than  this  usual  one,  ( Necessity ';   which 
is  not  rightly  applied  to  the  will  of  either  God  or 
man.     It  has  too  harsh  and  incongruous  a  mean 
ing  for  this  occasion ;  suggesting  the  notion  of 
something  like  compulsion,  and  what  is  at  least 
the   opposite  of  willingness,  to  the  mind.     Our 
question,  meanwhile,  implies  no  such  thing ;  for 
both  God's  will,  and  man's  will  does  what  it  does, 
whether  good  or  bad,  without  compulsion,  by  dint 
of  mere  good  pleasure  or  desire,  as  with  perfect 
freedom.     The  will  of  God,  nevertheless,  is  im 
mutable  and  infallible,  and  governs  our  mutable 
will — as  JBoethius    sings,   '  and    standing    fixed, 
mov'st  all  the  rest' — and  our  will,  wicked  in  the 
extreme,  can  of  itself  do  nothing  good.     Let  the 
understanding  of  my  reader,  then,  supply  what  the 
word  ( necessity'  does  not  express;  apprehending 
by  it,  what  you  might  choose  to  call  the  immutability 
of  God's  will,  and  the  impotency  of  our  evil  will : 
what  some  have  called  '  a  necessity  of  immuta 
bility':  not  very  grammatically  or  theologically. 

The  Sophists,  who  had  laboured  this  point  for 
years,  have  at  length  been  mastered,  and  are  com 
pelled  to  admit  that  '  all  events  are  necessary ;' 
but  by  the  necessity  of  a  consequence,  as  they  say, 
and  not  by  the  necessity  of  a  consequent.  Thus 
have  they  eluded  the  violence  of  this  question,  but 

*  N.  B.  This  whole  paragraph  is  omitted  in  the  Nieustadt 
edition  of  1591. 


it  is  by  much  more  illuding  themselves.5     I  will  SECT.XI. 

take  the  trouble  of  shewing  you,  what  a  mere  no 

thing1  this  distinction  of  theirs  is.  By  necessity  of  a 
consequence  (to  speak  as  these  thick-headed  people 
do)  they  mean,  that,  if  God  wills  a  thing,  the  thing 
itself  must  be,  but  it  is  not  necessary  that  the  very 
thing  which  is,  should  be.  For  only  God  exists  neces 
sarily ;  all  other  things  may  cease  to  be,  if  God 
pleases.  Thus  they  say  that  the  act  of  God  is  neces 
sary,  if  he  wills  a  thing,  but  that  the  very  thing  pro 
duced  is  not  necessary.  Now  what  do  they  get  by 
this  play  upon  words  ?  Why,  this,  I  suppose.  The 
thing  produced  is  not  necessary ;  that  is,  has  not 
a  necessary  existence — this  is  no  more  than  say 
ing,  the  thing  produced  is  not  God  himself.  Still 
the  truth  remains,  that  every  event  is  necessary; 
if  it  be  a  necessary  act  of  God,  or  a  necessary 
consequence  :  however  it  may  not,  now  that  it  is 
effected,  exist  necessarily;  that  is,  may  not  be 
God,  or  may  not  have  a  necessary  existence.  For, 
if  I  am  of  necessity  made,  it  is  of  little  moment  to 
me  that  my  being  or  making  be  mutable.  Still 
I — this  contingent  and  mutable  thing,  who  am  not 
the  necessary  God — am  made.  So  that  their 
foolery,  that  all  events  are  necessary,  through  a 
necessity  of  the  consequence,  but  not  through  a 
necessity  of  the  consequent,  has  no  more  in  it  than 
this :  all  events  are  necessary,  it  is  true  ;  but 
though  necessary,  are  not  God  himself.  Now 
what  need  was  there  to  tell  us  this?  As  if  there 
was  any  danger  of  our  asserting  that  the  things 

8  Eluserant,  illnscrunt.']  A  play  upon  the  words  eludo,  illiido. 
Elud.  '  to  parry  «ff,'  '  evade.'  A  metaphor  taken  from  the 
gladiator,  who,  by  a  dexterous  turn  of  his  body,  escapes  the 
weapon  of  his  adversary.  I  do  not  find  any  classical  authority 
for  understanding  '  illudo '  with  the  same  reference  to  the 
gladiator.  It  refers  to  customs  of  a  more  general  nature  ; 
comprehending  all  sorts  of  injury  inflicted  in  a  way  of  decep 
tion,  or  derision  :  '  to  sport  with,'  or  '  make  sport  of  ;'•  some 
times  '  to  ruin  in  sport.'  Thus  these  Sophists  have  evaded 
their  adversaries,  but  they  have  made  fools  of  themselves. 



PART  I.  made  are  God,  or  have  a  divine  and  necessary 
-  nature.  So  sure  and  stedfast  is  the  invincible 
aphorism,  '  All  things  are  brought  to  pass  by  the 
unchangeable  will  of  God  :'  what  they  call 
6  necessity  of  a  consequence/  Nor  is  there  any 
obscurity  or  ambiguity  here.  He  says  in  Isaiah  — 
"  My  counsel  shall  stand  "  and  my  will  shall  be 
brought  to  pass.  (Isa.  xlvi.  10.)  Is  there  any 
schoolboy  who  does  not  understand  what  is  meant 
by  these  words  (  counsel,'  '  ivill,'  '  brought  to  pass,' 
'  stand?' 

SEC.  xii.       But  why  should  these  things  be  shut  up  from  us 
Christians,  so  that  it  is  irreligious,  and  curious,  and 


UrevValence    Va^U  ^Or    US    ^°    searcn    an(^    to    loiOVV    them  ;    when 

of  this  per-  heathen  poets,  and  the  very  vulgar,  are  wearing 
them  threadbare,  by  the  commonest  use  of  them  in 
conversation?  How  often  does  the  single  poet 
Virgil  make  mention  of  fate  !  '  All  things  subsist 
by  a  fixed  law/  '  Every  man  has  his  day  fixed/ 
Again,  (  If  the  fates  call  you/  Again,  f  If  you 
can  by  any  means  burst  the  bonds  of  the  cruel 
fates/  It  is  this  poet's  sole  object  to  shew,  that 
in  the  destruction  of  Troy  and  the  raising  up  of 
the  Roman  empire  from  its  ruins,  fate  did  more 
than  all  human  efforts  put  together.  In  short,  he 
subjects  his  immortal  Gods  to  fate;  making  even 
Jupiter  himself  and  Juno  to  yield  to  it  necessarily. 
Hence  they  feigned  these  three  fatal  sisters,  the 
Parcas;  whom  they  represent  as  immutable,  im 
placable,  inexorable. 

Those  wise  men  discovered  (what  fact  and  ex 
perience  prove)  that  no  man  has  ever  yet  received 
the  accomplishment  of  his  own  counsels,  but  all 
have  had  to  meet  events  which  differed  from  their 
expectations.  4  If  Troy  could  have  been  defended 
by  a  human  right  hand,  it  had  been  defended  even 
by  this/  says  Virgil's  Hector.  Hence  that  most 
hackneyed  expression  in  everybody's  mouth, 
'  God's  will  be  done/  Again,  f  If  it  please  God, 
we  wrill  do  so/  Again,  '  So  God  would  have  it/ 


'  So  it   seemed  good  to    those  above.'     f  So  ye  SEC.XIII. 
would  have  it/  saysVmriL  So  that,  in  the  minds  of 

'  *>  •'.-.- 

the  common  people,  the  knowledge  of  the  predes 
tination  and  foreknowledge  of  God  is  not  less  in 
herent,  we  perceive,  than  the  very  notion  that 
there  is  a  God  :  although  blessed  Augustine,  with 
good  reason,  condemns  fate  ;  speaking  of  the  fate 
which  is  maintained  by  the  Stoics.  But  those 
who  professed  to  be  wise  went  to  such  lengths  in 
their  disputations,  that,  at  last,  their  heart  being 
darkened  they  became  foolish,  (Rom.  i.  22.)  and 
denied  or  dissembled  those  things  which  the  poets, 
and  the  vulgar,  and  their  own  consciences,  account 
most  common,  most  certain,  and  most  true. 

I  go  further,  and  declare,  not  only  how  true  these  The  ex- 
things  are  (of  which  I  shall  hereafter  speak  more 
at  large  from  the  Scriptures)  but  also  how  reli- 
gious,  pious,  and  necessary  it  is  to  know  them. 
For  if  these  things  be  not  known,  it  is  impossible  pretended 
that  either  faith  or  any  worship  of  God  should  be  and  boast- 
maintained.     For  this  would  be  a  real  ignorance  tk>n"°C 
of  God  ;  with  which  salvation  cannot  consist;  as 
is    notorious.    For  if  you  either  doubt  this  truth,  <• 
or  despise  the  knowledge  of  it,  that  God  fore 
knows  and  wills  all  things  ;  not  contingently,  but 
necessarily    and    immutably ;    how  will    you   be 
able  to  believe  his   promises,  and  with   full   as-  \ 
surance  to  trust  and  lean  upon  them  ?     For,  when 
he  promises,  you  ought  to  be  sure  that  he  knows 
what  he  promises,  and  is  able  and  willing  to  ac 
complish  it  :  else   you  will  account  him   neither 
true  nor  faithful ;  which  is  unbelief,  the  highest 
impiety,  and  a  denial  of  the  most  high  God. 

But  how  will  you  be  confident  and  secure,  if  you 
do  not  know  that  he  certainly,  infallibly,  un 
changeably,  and  necessarily  knows  and  wills,  and 
will  perform  what  he  promises  ?  Nor  should  we 
only  be  certain,  that  God  necessarily  and  immu 
tably  wills  and  will  perform  what  he  has  promised; 


PARTI,  but  we  should  even  glory  in  this  very  thing,  as 
Paul  does  in  Romans  iii.  saying,  "  But  let  God 
be  true  and  every  man  a  liar."  (Rom.  iii.  4.)  And 
again,  "  Not  that  the  word  of  God  hath  been  of 
none  effect/'  (Rom.  ix.  6.)  And  in  another  place, 
"  The  foundation  of  God  standeth  sure,  having 
this  seal,  the  Lord  knoweth  them  that  are  his." 
(2  Tim.  ii.  19.)  And  in  Titus  i.  "  which  God  who 
cannot  lie  hath  promised  before  the  world  began." 
(Tit.  i.  2.)  And  in  Hebrews  xi.  "  He  that  cometh 
to  God  must  believe  that  God  is,  and  that  he  is  a 
rewarder  of  them  that  hope  in  him."  (Heb.  xi.  6.) 
So  then,  the  Christian  faith  is  altogether  ex 
tinguished,  the  promises  of  God  and  the  whole 
Gospel  fall  absolutely  to  the  ground,  if  we  be 
taught  and  believe,  that  we  have  no  need  to  know 
that  the  foreknowledge  of  God  is  necessary,  and 
that  all  acts  and  events  are  necessary.  For  this 
is  the  alone  and  highest  possible  consolation  of 
Christians,  in  all  adversities,  to  know  that  God 
does  not  lie,  but  brings  all  things  to  pass  without 
any  possibility  of  change ;  and  that  his  will  can 
neither  be  resisted,  nor  altered,  nor  hindered.  See 
now,  my  Erasmus,  whither  this  most  abstinent 
and  peace-loving  theology  of  yours  leads  us ! 
You  call  us  off  from  endeavouring,  nay  forbid  that 
we  endeavour,  to  learn  the  foreknowledge  of  God 
and  necessity,  in  their  influence  upon  men  and 
things ;  you  counsel  us  to  abandon  such  topics, 
to  avoid  and  to  hold  them  in  abhorrence.  By  this 
ill-advised  labour  of  yours,  you  at  the  same  time 
teach  us  to  cultivate  an  ignorance  of  God,  (what 
in  fact  comes  of  itself,  and  even  grows  to  ush)  to 
despise  faith,  to  forsake  God's  promises,  and  to 
set  at  nought  all  the  consolations  of  the  Spirit 

h  AgnataJ]  f  What  grows  to  us  as  a  sort  of  monstrous  ap 
pendage;'  like  the  membra  agnata  et  agnasccntia  in  animals  ; 
parts  that  are  more  than  should  be  by  nature ;  as  a  sixth 
finger,  &c. 


and  the  assurances  of  our  own  conscience.     In-  SEC.XIII. 
junctions  these,  which  scarcely  Epicurus  himself 
would  lay  upon  us  ! 

Not  content  with  this,  you  go  on  to  call  that 
man  irreligious,  curious,  and  vain  who  takes  pains 
to  get  the  knowledge  of  these  things ;  you  call 
that  man  religious,  pious,  and  sober  who  despises 
them.  What  else  do  you  achieve  then  by  these 
words,  but  that  Christians  are  curious,  vain,  and 
irreligious  ;  and  that  Christianity  is  a  thing  of  no 
moment  at  all ;  vain,  foolish,  and  absolutely  im 
pious.  Thus  it  happens  again,  that  whilst  you 
would,  above  all  things,  deter  us  from  rashness, 
being  hurried,  as  fools  usually  are,  into  the  oppo 
site  extreme,  you  teach  us  nothing  but  the  most 
excessive  temerities  and  impieties,  which  must 
lead  us  to  destruction.  Are  you  aware  that  your 
book  is,  in  this  part,  so  impious,  so  blasphemous, 
and  so  sacrilegious,  as  no  where  to  have  its 

I  speak  not  of  your  intention,  as  I  have  already 
said,  for  I  do  not  think  you  so  abandoned  as  to 
wish,  from  your  heart,  either  to  teach  these  things, 
or  to  see  them  practised  by  others ;  but  I  would 
shew  you  what  strange  things  a  man  obliges  him 
self  to  babble,  without  knowing  what  he  says, 
when  he  undertakes  a  bad  cause.  I  would  shew 
you  also,  what  it  is  to  strike  our  foot  against  divine 
truth  and  the  divine  word,  whilst  we  personate  a 
character  in  compliance  with  the  wishes  of  others, 
and,  with  many  qualms  of  conscience,  bustle 
through  a  scene,  in  which  we  have  no  just  call  to 
appear.1  It  is  not  a  play  or  a  pastime  to  teach 

1  Aliorum  obsequio."]  Erasmus  was  a.  forced  champion,  writ 
ing  to  please  the  Pope  and  his  party,  at  their  special  request. 
Personam  sumirnus.  He  did  not  really  stand  in  his  own  person, 
but  was  an  actor  sustaining  a  part  which  had  been  put  upon 
him.  Alienee  scentz  servire  expresses  the  drudgery  of  labouring 
through  a  character  in  which  he  had  made  himself  a  volunteer. 
Scena  servire  sometimes  signifies  'to  temporize  ;'  but  here  I 
prefer  retaining  the  original  figure.~-This  is  one  of  the  poi- 


PARTI,  theology  and  piety ;  in  such  an  employment  it  is 
most  easy  to  make  that  sort  of  fall  which  James 
speaks  of,k  when  he  says,,  "  He  that  oftendeth  in 
one  point  becomes  guilty  of  all."  (Jam.  ii.  10.) 
For  thus  it  comes  to  pass,  that,  whilst  we  think  we 
mean  to  trifle  but  a  little,  having  lost  our  due  re 
verence  for  the  Scriptures,  we  soon  get  entangled 
in  impieties,  and  are  plunged  over  head  and  ears 
in  blasphemies.  Just  what  has  happened  to  you 
in  this  case,  Erasmus  !  May  the  Lord  pardon 
and  have  mercy  on  you  ! 

As  to  the  fact,  that  the  Sophists  have  raised  such 
swarms  of  questions  on  these  subjects,  and  have 
mixed  a  multitude  of  other  unprofitable  matters 
with  them,  such  as  you  mention ;  I  am  aware  of 
this,  and  acknowledge  it  as  well  as  you,  and  have 
inveighed  against  it  with  yet  more  sharpness, 
and  at  greater  length,  than  you.  But  you  are 
foolish  and  rash  in  mixing,  confounding,  and  assi 
milating  the  purity  of  sacred  truth  with  the  pro 
fane  and  foolish  questions  of  ungodly  men.  They 
have  defiled  the  gold  and  changed  its  beautiful 
colour,  as  Jeremiah  says,  (Lam.  v.  1.)  but  gold  is 
not  forthwith  to  be  compared  to  dung  and  thrown 
away  together  with  it ;  as  you  have  done.  The 
gold  must  be  recovered  out  of  their  hands,  and 

soncd  arrows  of  Luther's  treatise  j  '  u  hireling   expectant,  with 
only  half  his  heart  in  the  cause.' 

k  A  forced  application  of  James's  words  ;  who  speaks  of  a 
breach  of  one  commandment  as  subjecting  us  to  the  curse  of 
all,  because  such  breach  is  derogatory  to  the  authority  of  the 
Lawgiver.  We  set  ourselves  up  against  the  Lawgiver,  and 
impugn  his  authority  by  a  single  wilful  breach  of  a  single  com 
mandment,  with  guilt  of  the  same  quality,  though  not  of  the 
same  extent  and  aggravation,  as  if  we  brake  all.  Luther  ap 
plies  it  to  Erasmus's  only  meaning  to  have  a  little  sport ;  but 
then  it  is  at  the  expense  of  Scripture  :  and  such  sport,  and  even 
the  intention  of  such  sport,  implies  a  want  of  due  reverence 
for  Scripture.  This  first  fault  leads  to  all  the  impiety  which 
follows  ;  and  therefore  he  who  is  guilty  of  it,  is  guilty  of  all 
the  impieties  which  follow,  though  he  did  not  set  out  with  the 
intention  of  committing  them.  '  Guilty  of  all/  because  one 
leads  to  all ;  is  the  seed  of  all.— This  is  not  James's  meaning. 


the  purity  of  Scripture  separated  from  their  dregs  SEC.XIV. 
and  filth  :  and  I  have  always  been  aiming  to  do 
this  ;  in  order  that  one  sort  of  regard  might  be 
paid  to  the  divine  word,  and  another  to  their 
trifling  conceits.  Nor  should  it  move  us,  that  no 
other_advantage  has  been  gained  by  these  ques 
tions,  than  that,  with  great  expense  of  concord, 
\\  r  have  come  to  love  less,  whilst  we  are  far  too 
eager  to  get  wisdom.  It  is  not  our  question,  what 
advantage  disputatious  Sophists  have  gained  ;  but 
how  we  may  ourselves  become  good  Christians : 
nor  ought  you  to  impute  to  Christian  doctrine  what 
ungodly  men  do  amiss.  For  this  is  nothing  to  the 
purpose,  and  you  might  have  spoken  of  it  in  ano 
ther  place,  and  have  spared  your  paper. 

In  your  third  chapter,  you  go  on  to  make  us  AH  Scrip- 
these  modest  and  quiet  Epicureans  by  another  'Mretruth 
sort  of  counsel,  not  a  whit  sounder  than  the  two  published 
already  mentioned :  viz.  that  '  some  propositions 
are  of  such  a  nature,  that  even  though  they  were 
true  and  could  be  ascertained,  still  it  would  not  be 
expedient  to  publish  them  promiscuously.'1  Here 
again,  you  confound  and  mix  things,  as  your  cus 
tom  is,  that  you  may  degrade  what  is  sacred  to 
the  level  of  the  profane,  without  allowing  the  least 
difference  between  them ;  and  again  fall  into  an 
injurious  contempt  of  God  and  his  word.  I  have 
said  before,  what  is  either  plainly  declared  in 
Scripture,  or  may  be  proved  from  it,  is  not  only 
open  to  view,  but  salutary  ;  and  therefore  may  be 
with  safety  published,  learned,  and  known;  nay, 
ought  to  be  so.  With  what  truth,  then,  can  you 
say,  that  there  are  things  which  ought  not  to  be 
published  promiscuously,  if  you  speak  of  things 
contained  in  Scripture  ?  If  you  speak  of  other 
things,  nothing  that  you  have  said  concerns  us  ; 
all  is  out  of  place,  and  you  have  wasted  your 

1  Prosiitucre  promiscuis  auribits.']  Prostit.  '  publicare/  diffa- 
mare,'  (pro,  sive  prce,  statuo.)  Promise.  '  confusus  $'  hence, 
'  general/  '  common.' 


PART  I.   paper  and  your  time  in  words.     Again,  you  know 

that  I  have  no  agreement,  upon  any  subject,  with 

the  Sophists;  so  that  I  deserved   to  have   been 
spared  by  you,  and  not  to  have  had  their  abuses 
cast  in  my  teeth.     It  was  against  me  that  you 
were  to  write  in  this  book.    I  know  how  guilty  the 
Sophists  are,  and  don't  want  you  to  teach  me, 
having   already   reprehended   them   abundantly  : 
and  this  I  say,  once  for  all,  as  often  as  you  con 
found  me  with  the  Sophists,  and  load  my  cause 
with  their  mad  sayings.     You  act  unfairly  by  me 
in  so  doing,  and  you  very  well  know  it. 

SEC.  xv.       Let  us  now  look  into  the  reasons  on  which  you 

build  your  counsel.     Though  it  should  be  true, 

Theargu-    that   God  is  essentially   present  in  the  beetle's 
'"some        cave,  and  even  in  the  common  sewer,  no  less  than 
truths        in  heaven  (which  reverence  forbids  you  to  assert 

an<^  you  blame  the  Sophists  for  babbling  so); 
is  still,  you  think  it  Avould  be  irrational  to  maintain 
either  in-  such  a  proposition  before  the  multitude. 
with  Eras-  I*1  the  first  place,  babble  who  may,  we  are  nottalk- 
mus's  act,  ing  here  about  the  actions  of  men,  but  about  law  and 
place*  °  right ;  not  how  we  live,  but  how  we  ought  to  live ! 
Which  of  us  lives  and  acts  rightly  in  all  cases? 
Law  and  precept  are  not  condemned  on  this  ac 
count,  but  rather  we  by  them.  The  truth  is,  you 
fetch  these  materials  of  yours,  which  are  foreign 
to  the  subject,  from  a  great  distance,  and  scrape 
many  things  together  from  all  sides  of  you,  be 
cause  this  one  topic  of  the  foreknowledge  of  God 
gravels  you ;  and,  having  no  arguments  to  over 
come  it  with,  you  try  to  weary  your  reader  by  a 
profusion  of  empty  words,  before  you  conclude. 
But  we  will  let  this  pass,  and  return  to  our  subject. 
— Then  how  do  you  mean  to  apply  this  judgment 
of  yours,  that  there  are  some  truths  which  ought 
not  to  be  proclaimed  to  the  vulgar  ?  Is  Freewill 
one  of  these?  If  so,  all  that  I  said  before,  about 
the  necessity  of  understanding  Freewill,  returns 
upon  you.  Besides,  why  do  you  not  follow  your 


own  counsel,  and  withhold  your  Diatribe?    If- you  SEC.XVI. 

are  right  in  discussing  Freewill,  why  do  you  find  

fault?  if  it  be  wrong  to  so  do,  why  do  you  discuss 
it?  On  the  other  hand,  if  Freewill  be  not  one  of 
these  subjects,  you  are  again  guilty  of  running 
away  from  the  point  at  issue,  in  the  midst  of  the 
discussion,  and  of  handling  foreign  topics  with  great 
verbosity,  where  there  is  no  place  for  them. 

Not  that  you  deal  correctly  with  the  example  Erasmus's 
which  you  adduce,  when  you  condemn  it  as  an  amplest 
useless  discussion  for  the  multitude,  '  that  God  is  truths  not; 
in  the  cave,  or  in  the  sewer/  You  think  of  God  v°^edpub" 
too  humanly.  I  acknowledge,  indeed,  that  there 
are  some  frivolous  preachers,  who,  having  neither 
religion  nor  piety,  and  being  moved  solely  by  a 
desire  of  glory,  or  an  ambition  of  novelty,  or  an 
impatience  of  silence,  gabble  and  trifle  with  the 
most  offensive  levity.  But  these  men  please  nei 
ther  God  nor  man,  though  they  be  engaged  in 
asserting  that  God  is  in  the  heaven  of  heavens. 
On  the  contrary,  where  the  preacher  is  grave  and 
pipuS;  and  teaches  in  modest,  pure,  and  sound 
words;  such  a  man  will  declare  such  a  truth  be 
fore  the  multitude,  not  only  without  danger,  but 
even  with  great  profit.  Ought  we  not  all  to  teach 
that  the  Son  of  God  was  in  the  womb  of  the 
Virgin,  and  born  from  her  bowels  ?  And  what 
difference  is  there  between  the  bowels  of  a  wo 
man  and  any  other  filthy  place?  Who  could  not 
describe  them  nastily  and  offensively?  Yet  we 
should  deservedly  condemn  such  describers,  be 
cause  there  is  an  abundance  of  pure  words  to  ex 
press  this  substance,  of  which  it  has  become  ne 
cessary  to  speak,1"  with  beauty  and  grace.  Christ's 
own  body,  again,  was  human  like  our  own.  And 
what  is  filthier  than  this  ?  Shall  we  therefore  for 
bear  to  say  that  God  dwelt  in  him  BODILY,  as 

m  Earn  ncccssitatem. 


PART.  i.   Paul   speaks?11   (Coloss.  ii.   9.)     What   is   more 

disgusting  than  death  ?    What  more  horrible  than 

hell  ?     But  the  Prophet  glories  that  God  is  with 
him  in  death  and  in  hell.  (Psa.  xxiii.) 

The  pious  mind  then  does  not  shudder  to  hear 
that  God  is  in  death  or  in  hell ;  each  of  which  is 
more  horrible  than  the  cave  or  the  sewer :  nay, 
since  Scripture  testifies  that  God  is  every  where, 
and  fills  all  things,  not  only  does  such  a  mind 
affirm  that  he  is  in  those  places,  but  will,  as 
matter  of  necessity,  learn  and  know  that  he  is 
there.  Unless,  perchance,  if  I  should  somehow 
be  seized  by  a  tyrant,  and  cast  into  a  prison  or  a 
common  sewer,  which  has  been  the  lot  of  many 
saints,  I  must  not  be  allowed  to  invoke  my  God 
there  ;  or  to  believe  that  he  is  present  with  me, 
until  I  shall  have  come  into  some  ornamented 
temple!  If  you  teach  us  that  we  ought  to  trifle 
in  this  way  about  God,  and  are  so  offended  with 
the  abiding  places  of  his  essence,  you  will,  at 
length,  not  allow  us  to  consider  him  as  abiding 
even  in  heaven :  for  not  even  the  heaven  of  hea 
vens  contains  him,  or  is  worthy  to  do  so.  But 
the  truth  is,  you  sting  with  so  much  venom,0  as 
your  manner  is,  that  you  may  sink  our  cause,  and 
make  it  hateful,  because  you  see  it  to  be  insuper 
able  and  invincible,  by  powers  such  as  yours. 

The  second  instance  which  you  adduce,  ( that 
there  are  three  Gods/  is,  I  confess,  a  stumbling- 
block,  if  it  be  indeed  taught :  nor  is  it  true,  nor 
does  Scripture  teach  it.  The  Sophists,  indeed, 
speak  so  ;  and  have  invented  a  new  sort  of  logic. 
But  what  is  that  to  us  ? 

n  I  would  crave  the  reader's  particular  attention  to  this  de 
scription  of  the  human  body  of  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ ;  that  part 
of  his  frame  which  alone  connected  him  and  did  really  con 
nect  him  with  the  damned  substance  of  his  people.  It  enters 
into  the  very  entrails  of  '  the  mystery  of  godliness.' 

0  Sic  odiose  pungis.']  Pmtg.  '  cuspide  vel  aculeo  ictum 


With   respect   to    your   third    and   remaining  SEC.XVI. 

example  of  confession  and  satisfaction,  it  is  won-  • 

derful  with  how  happy  a  dexterity  you  contrive  to 
find  fault:  every  where,  as  you  are  wont,  just 
skimming  the  surface  of  the  subject,  and  no  more, 
lest  you  should  appear,  either,  on  the  one  hand, 
not  simply  to  condemn  our  writings,  or,  on  the 
other,  not  to  be  disgusted  with  the  tyranny  of  the 
pontiffs  :p  a  failure  in  either  of  which  points  would 
be  by  no  means  safe  for  you.  So,  bidding  adieu, 
for  a  little  while,  to  conscience  and  to  Cod,  (for 
what  has  Erasmus  to  do  with  the  will  of  the  latter 
and  the  obligations  of  the  former,  in  these  mat 
ters?)  you  draw  your  sword  upon  a  mere  out 
side  phantom,  and  accuse  the  common  people  of 
abusing  the  preaching  of  free  confession  and 
satisfaction,4  as  their  own  evil  nature  may  incline 
them,  to  the  indulgence  of  the  flesh;  maintaining, 
that  by  necessary  confession  they  are,  some  how 
or  other,  restrained.  O  famous  and  exquisite 
harangue  !  Is  this  teaching  theology?  To  bind 
with  law's  and  kill,  as  Ezekiel  says,  (xxiii. 
xiii.  19.)  the  souls  which  God  has  not  bound.  At 
this  rate,  you  stir  up  the  whole  tyranny  of  the 
Popish  laws  against  us  forsooth,  on  the  ground 
of  their  being  useful  and  salutary ;  because  by 
them  also  the  wickedness  of  the  people  is  re 
strained  ! 

But  I  am  unwilling  to  inveigh  against  you,  as 
this  passage  deserves.  I  will  state  the  matter  as 
it  is,  concisely.  A  good  theologian  teaches  thus  : 
the  common  people  are  to  be  restrained  by  the 


p  Ponti/icnm  tyrannidem  offendere.']  Offend. '  aversari,'  'offendi,' 
'  molestiam  capere  ;'  quasi  impingere,  incurrere  in  illiquid, 
quod  displiceat. — Another  poisoned  arrow.  Whilst  lie  keeps 
no  terms  with  Luther,  he  must  still  be  the  friend  of  liberty. 
He  had  gone  far  in  satirizing  the  reigning  abuses.  But  how 
galling  the  exposure  ! 

q  Free.]  That  is,  preaching  that  these  are  free ;  that  men 
may  observe  or  neglect  them,  according  to  their  own  indivi 
dual  conscience. 


PART  i.  external  force  of  the  sword,  when  they  do  amiss, 
as  Paul  teaches  (Rom.  xiii.  1 — 4.);  but  their  con 
sciences  are  not  to  be  ensnared  by  false  laws, 
teasing  and  tormenting  them  for  sins  which  God 
does  not  account  sins.  For  the  conscience  is 
bound  only  by  the  commands  of  God;  so  that 
this  interposed  tyranny  of  the  pontiffs,  which 
falsely  terrifies  and  kills  souls  inwardly,  whilst  it, 
to  no  purpose,  harasses  the  body  without,  should 
be  entirely  taken  out  of  the  way.  This  tyranny 
does,  indeed,  compel  men  to  outward  acts  of  con 
fession,  and  to  other  burdens,  but  the  mind  is  not 
restrained  by  these  things :  rather,  it  is  exaspe 
rated  to  an  hatred  of  God  and  of  man.  It  hangs, 
draws,  and  quarters  the  body  outwardly,  without 
effect,  making  mere  hypocrites  within ;  insomuch, 
that  the  tyrants  who  enact  and  execute  laws  of 
this  sort  are  nothing  else  but  rapacious  wolves, 
thieves,  and  robbers  of  souls.  These  wolves  and 
robbers,  O  most  excellent  counsellor  of  souls,  thou 
commendest  to  us  again.  In  other  words,  thou 
proposest  the  most  cruel  of  soul-slayers  to  our 
acceptance;  who  will  fill  the  world  with  hypo 
crites,  blaspheming  God,  and  despising  him  in 
their  hearts  ;  in  order  that  men  may  be  a  little 
restrained  in  their  outward  carriage :  as  if  there 
were  not  another  method  of  restraining,  which 
makes  no  hypocrites,  and  is  obtained  without  de 
stroying  any  man's  conscience ; r  as  I  have  said, 
sc.  xvii.  Here  you  fetch  ins  a  host  of  similes  ;  in  which 
you  aim  to  abound,  and  to  be  thought  very  apt 
-  an(*  expert.  You  tell  us,  forsooth,  that  there  are 

r  Consul,  auctor,  refer  to  the  customs  of  the  Roman  Repub 
lic,  of  which  the  consul  was  the  guardian  and  adviser :  he  was 
the  author,  or  originater  of  measures. 

s  Allegas,   '  afferre   aliquid   probandi   vel   excusandi   gratia.' 
A  forensic  expression ;  these  were  his  witnesses  :  but  what  did 
,  they  prove  ?  only,  what  a  clever  fellow  this  Erasmus  is.     Illus 
tration  is  not  argument ;  but  here  it  is  manifestly  a  substitute 
'for  it.     He  amuses,  imposes,  irritates,   and  bewilders   by  his 
similies,  because  he  has  nothing  solid  wherewith  to  answer. 


some  diseases  which  are  borne  with  less  evil  than  sc.  xvn. 

they  are  removed   withal ;  such   as   the   leprosy  

and  others.     You  also  add  the  example  of  Paul,  deistands 
who   distinguished   between    things    lawful    and  the  vast 
things  expedient.     A  man  may  lawfully  speak  the 
truth,  you  say ;  to  any  body,  at  any  time,  in  any 
way  he  pleases ;  but  it  is  not  expedient  for  him  to  tion. 
do  so. 

What  an  exuberant  orator !  but  one  who  does 
not  at  all  know  what  he  is  saying.  In  a  word, 
you  plead  this  cause  as  if  your  affair  with  me  were 
a  contest  for  a  sum  of  money  which  is  recoverable, 
or  for  some  other  very'inconsiderable  object:  whose 
loss  (as  being  a  thing  of  far  less  value  than  that  dear 
external  peace  of  yours)  ought  riot  to  move  any  one 
to  such  a  degree  that  he  be  unwilling  to  submit,  do, 
and  suffer,  as  the  occasion  may  require;  or  to 
render  it  necessary  that  the  world  be  thrown  into 
such  a  tumult.  %You  plainly  intimate,  therefore, 
that  this  peace  and  tranquillity  of  the  flesh  is  far 
more  excellent  in  your  eyes  than  faith,  conscience, 
salvation,  the  word  of  God,  the  glory  of  Christ, 
yea,  God  himself.  I  declare  to  you,  therefore, 
and  entreat  you  to  lay  this  up  in  your  inmost 
soul,  that  I,  for  iny  part,  am  in  pursuit  of  a  se 
rious,  necessary,  and  eternal  object  in  this  cause ; 
such  and  so  great  an  object,  that  I  must  assert  and 
defend  it,  even  at  the  hazard  of  my  life ;  nay, 
though  the  whole  world  must  not  only  be  thrown 
into  a  state  of  conflict  and  confusion  through  it, 
but  even  rush  back  again  into  its  original  chaos, 
and  be  reduced  to  nothing.  If  you  do  not  com 
prehend,  or  do  not  feel,  these  things,  mind  your 
own  business;  and  give  others  leave  to  compre 
hend  and  to  feel  them,  on  whom  God  has  be 
stowed  this  power. 

For  I  am  not  such  a  fool,  or  such  a  madman,  I 
thank  God,  as  to  have  been  willing  to  plead  and 
maintain  this  cause  so  long,  with  such  resolute 
ness,  with  such  constancy,  (you  call  it  obstinacy) 



PART  I.    amidst  so  many  hair-breadth    escapes   with    life, 

amidst  so  many  enmities,  amidst  so   many  wiles 

and  snares — in  short,  amidst  the  rage  and 
phrenzy  of  men  and  devils ;  for  the  sake  of  money, 
which  I  neither  have  nor  desire ;  or  for  the  sake 
of  glory,  which,  if  I  would,  I  could  not  obtain  in 
a  world  that  is  so  hostile  to  me ;  or  for  the  sake  of 
bodily  life,  of  which  I  cannot  ensure  the  possession 
for  a  single  moment.  Do  you  think  that  you  are 
the  only  person  who  hath  a  heart  that  is  moved 
with  these  tumults  ?  I,  no  more  than  yourself j 
am  made  of  stone,  or  born  of  the  Marpesian  rocks. 
But,  since  it  must  be  so,1 1  choose  rather  to  endure 
the  collisions  of  a  temporal  tumult,  for  asserting 
the  word  of  God,  with  an  invincible  and  incorrup 
tible  mind,  rejoicing  all  the  while  in  the  sense  and 
manifestations  of  his  favour,  than  to  be  crushed  to 
pieces  by  the  intolerable  torments  of  an  eternal 
tumult,  as  one  of  the  victims  of  God's  wrath.  The 
Lord  grant  that  your  mind  be  not  such  (I  hope 
and  wish  he  may  !)  but  your  words  sound  as 
though,  like  Epicurus,  you  accounted  the  word  of 
God  and  a  future  state  to  be  mere  fables ;  when, 
by  virtue  of  the  doctorial  authority  with  which 
you  are  invested,  you  wish  to  propose  to  us,  that, 
in  order  to  please  pontiffs  and  princes,  or  to  pre 
serve  this  dear  peace  of  yours,  we  should  submit 
ourselves,  and,  for  a  while,  relinquish  the  use  of 
the  word  of  God,  sure  as  that  word  is,"  if  occasion 
require  ;  although,  by  such  relinquishment,  we  re 
linquish  God,  faith,  salvation,  and  every  Christian 
possession.  How  much  better  does  Christ  advise 
us,  to  despise  the  whole  world  rather  than  do 
this  ! 

But  you  say  such  things,  because  you  do  not 
read,  or  do  not  observe,  that  this  is  the  most  con- 


Peace  of 
the  world 

1  '  Since  I  am  reduced  to  this  painful  alternative  of  evils.' 
u  Certiasimum.']     Opposed  to  what  Erasmus  gave  reason  to 
su?pect  that  he  accounted  it :  '  verbum  Dei  et  futuram  vitam 
Jaiulas  esse  putis.' 


stapt   fortune  of  the  word  of  God,,  to  have  the  sc.xvin. 
u  oriel  iu  a  state  of  tumult  because :  of  it.     Christ  


explicitly  asserts  this,,  when  he  says,  "  I  am  not  distu»'bed, 
come  to  send  peace,  but  a  sword."  (Matt.  x.  34.)  S^S*1*" 
And  in  Luke,  "  I  am  come  to  send  fire  on  the  against  a. 
earth."  (Luke  xii.  49.)  And  Paul  (2  Cor.  vi.  5.)  jj°f"£it. 
"  In  seditions,"  &c.  And  the  Prophet  testifies  the 
same  thing,  with  great  redundancy  of  expression, 
in  the  second  Psalm,  when  he  asserts,  that  the 
nations  are  in  a  tumult,  that  the  people  murmur, 
that  the  kings  rise  up,  that  the  princes  take  coun 
sel  together  against  the  Lord  and  against  his 
Christ:  as  though  he  should  say,  numbers,  gran 
deur,  riches,  power,  wisdom,  justice,  and  what 
soever  is  exalted  in  the  world,  opposes  itself  to 
the  word  of  God.  See,  in  the  Acts  of  the  Apos 
tles,  what  happens  in  the  world  through  Paul's 
preaching  only,  not  to  mention  the  other  Apos 
tles  ;  how  he  singly  and  alone  stirs  up  both  Gen 
tiles  and  Jews :  or,  as  his  enemies  themselves 
affirm  in  that  same  place,  how  he  troubles*  the 
whole  world.  The  kingdom  of  Israel  is  troubled 
under  the  ministry  of  Elijah,  as  king  Ahab  com 
plains.  What  a  stir  there  was  under  the  other 
Prophets  !  whilst  they  are  all  slain  with  the 
sword,  or  stoned ;  whilst  Israel  is  led  captive 
into  Assyria,  and-Judah,  in  like  manner,  to  Baby 
lon.  Was  this  peace  ?  The  world  and  its  God 
neither  can  nor  'trill  endure  the  word  of  the  true 
God ;  the  true  God  neither  will  nor  can  be  silent. 
\Vhrn  these  two  Gods  are  at  war,  what  can  there 
br  but  tumult  in  all  the  world? 

The  wish  to  hush  these  storms  is  nothing  else 
but  a  wish  to  take  the  word  of  God  out  of  the 
way,  and   to   stay  its   course.     For  the  word  of 
God  comes  for  the  very  purpose  of  changing  andf 
renewing  the  world,  as  often  as  it  does  come; 5 
and   even   Gentile  writers   bear   witness   that  a> 

v  Conturlnt.']     Luther  makes  it  '  troubled  waters ' ;  we,  more 
correctly,  'the  world  turned  upside  down',  a 



PART  I;  change  of  things  cannot  take  place  without  com 
motion  and  tumult,  nay,  without  blood.  It  is  the 
part  of  a  Christian,  now-a-days,  to  await  and 
endure  these  things  with  presence  of  mind;  as 
Christ  says,  "  When  ye  shall  hear  of  wars  and 
rumours  of  wars,  be  not  afraid,  for  these  things 
must  first  be,  but  the  end  is  not  just  yet."  I,  for 
my  part,  should  say,  if  I  saw  not  these  tumults, 
the  word  of  God  is  not  in  the  world  :  but  seeing 
them,  I  rejoice  in  my  heart  and  despise  them  ; 
most  sure,  that  the  kingdom  of  the  Pope  and  his 
adherents  is  about  to  fall :  for  the  word  of  God, 
which  is  now  running  in  the  world,  has  especially 
invaded  this  kingdom.  To  be  sure,  I  see  you, 
my  Erasmus,  complaining  of  these  tumults  in 
many  of  your  publications,  and  mourning  over 
the  loss  of  peace  and  concord.  Moreover,  you 
try  many  expedients  to  cure  this  disorder,  with  a 
good  intention,  as  I  verily  believe ;  but  this  is  a 
sort  of  gout,  which  mocks  your  healing  hands. 
For  here,  to  use  your  own  expression,  you  are,  in 
truth,  sailing  against  the  stream;  nay,  you  are 
extinguishing  fire  with  stubble.  Cease  to  com 
plain,  cease  to  play  the  physician:  .tins  confusion 
is  of  God  in  its  origin,  and  in  its  progress;  nor 
will  it  cease,  till  it  has  made  all  the  adversaries  of 
the  word  like  the  mire  of  the  streets.  But  it  is  a 
lamentable  thing,  that  it  should  be  necessary  to 
admonish  you,  who  are  so  great  a  theologian,  of 
these  things,  as  a  scholar  ;  when  you  ought  to  b( 
filling  the  place  of  a  master. 

This,  then,  is  the  proper  application  of  youi 
aphorism  (a  very  excellent  one  though  you  mis 
apply  it),  '  that  some  diseases  are  borne  witl 
less  evil  than  removed/  Let  all  those  tumults, 
commotions,  troubles,  seditions,  divisions,  dis 
cords,  wars,  and  whatsoever  other  things  there 
are  of  like  kind,  with  which,  for  the  word  of 
GocVs  sake,  the  whole  world  is  shaken  and  clashed 
together  in  conflict;  be  called  diseases  better 


borne   than   cured.     These  things,  I   say,  being1  sc.xvin. 
temporal,   are  borne  with  less  mischief  than  old 
habits  of  evil;    by  which   all  souls  must  perish, 
except  they  be  changed  through  the  word  of  God. 
So  that,  by  taking  this  word  of  God  away,  you 
take  away   eternal  blessings ;   God,    Christ,    the 
Spirit.     But  how  much  better  were  it  to  lose  the 
world,  than  to  lose  the  Creator  of  the  world ;  who 
can  create  innumerable  worlds  afresh,  and  who  is 
lu't<rr  than  an  infinity  of  worlds  !     For  what  com 
parison  is  there   between   temporal  arid  eternal 
things  ?     Much  rather,    then,   is   this  leprosy  of 
temporal  evils  to  be  borne,  than  that,  at  the  ex 
pense  of  the  slaughter  and  eternal  damnation  of 
all  the  souls  in  the  world,  the  world  should,   by 
their  blood  and  destruction,  be  pacified  and  cured 
of  all  these  tumults :    since   one  soul  cannot  be 
redeemed  by  paying  the  whole  world  for  its  ran 
som.     You   have   many  beautiful   and   excellent 
similies  and  aphorisms :  but  when  you  come  to 
sacred  subjects,  you  apply  them  childishly,  and 
3ven  perversely  ;x  for  you  crawl  on  the  ground, 
ind  have  no  thought  of  any  thing  which  is  beyond 
nere  human  conception.     Now,  the  things  which 
jod  does  are  neither  childish  things,  nor  civil  or 
lumaii  things;  but  things  of  God;y  and  such  as 
exceed   all    human    conception.     For    example ; 
rou  do  not  see  that  these  tumults  and  divisions 
ire  marching  through  the  world  by  divine  coun- 
el  and  operation,  and  you  are  afraid  the  skies 
hould  fall :  but  I,  on  the  other  hand,  thanks  be 
o  God !  see  good  in  these  storms ;  because  I  see 
'ther  and  greater  in  the  world  to  come,  compared 
••ith  which,  these  seem  but  as  the  whispers  of  the 

x  Perverse.']  '  Distortcdly,'  in  a  manner  contrary  to  their  real 
leaning  and  use.  Luther's  charge  is  no  less  than  this  :  what 
rastnus  counted  evil  was  really  good  ;  and  vice  versa. 

y  Pueriha,  cwilia,  humana,  divina.']  Civ.  '  What  relate  to 
ian  as  a  citizen';  opposed  to  'puerilia',  because  it  was  not  till 
man  attained  a  certain  age  that  he  became  entitled  to  them. 

E  2 


PART  I.    gentle  breeze,  or  the  murmur  of  the  soft-flowing 

-  stream. 

sc.xix.        But  you  either  deny,,  or  profess  not  to  know, 

-  that  our  doma  of  free  confession  and  satisfaction 

whether         ls  t]l6  WOrd  °f 

the  dogma  This  is  another*  question:  we,  however,  both 
office  con-  kno\v,  and  are  sure,  that  it  is  the  word  of  God  ; 
scriptural  and  that  word  by  which  Christian  liberty  is  main- 
The  Pope  tained,  in  order  that  we  may  not  allow  ourselves  to 

A  f^     A 

cunotbe  ^e  entrapped  into  servitude  by  human  traditions 
obeyed  and  laws.  A  point  this,  which  I  have  abundantly 
conjointly.  prove(]  elsewhere  :  and,  if  you  should  have  a  mind 

The  people   1  .   '  •*  i        i    • 

must  be      to  try  the  question,  1  am  ready  to  plead  in  sup- 
left  to        p0rt  of  it,  even  at  your  judgment  seat;a   or   to 
debate  it  with  you.     Many  books   of  ours   are 
before  the  public  upon  these  questions. 

'  Still,  however,  the  laws  of  the  pontiffs  ought  to 
be  suffered,  and  to  be  observed  equally  with  the  di 
vine  laws,  out  of  love,  if  both  the  eternal  salvation 
of  men,  through  the  word  of  God,  and  the  peace  of 
the  world,  may  thus  be  made  to  subsist  together 
without  tumult/ 

I  have  said  before  that  this  cannot  be.  The 
prince  of  this  world  does  not  suffer  that  the  laws 
of  his  Pope  and  his  cardinals  be  maintained  in 
consistency  writh  liberty,  but  has  it  in  his  mind  to 
entrap  and  enchain  men's  consciences  by  them. 
The  true  God  cannot  endure  this.  Thus  it  is,  that 
the  word  of  God,  and  the  traditions  of  men,  are 
opposed  to  each  other  with  an  implacable  discord, 

z  Hac  alia  qu&stio  est.~\  '  Other'  than  that  of  the  expediency 
of  proclaiming  it,  as  supposed  to  be  acknowledged  truth.  Fret 
confession  is  introduced  by  Erasmus,  as  his  third  example  of  t 
dogma,  which,  though  true,  ought  not  to  be  circulated. 

a  El  tibi  dicere.~]  Like  his  '  etiam  te  judice',  in  Part  ii 
Sect.  i.  means  making  Erasmus  himself  the  judge.  —  Vel  con 
serere  manus  might  be  supposed  to  allude  to  an  ancient  cus 
torn,  '  ex  jure  manu  consertum  vocare'  ;  when  a  party  expresset 
his  willingness  to  go  with  his  adversary  into  the  field,  if  dissa 
tisfied  with  the  award  of  the  tribunal  :  a  species  of  judicia 
combat.  But  I  prefer  the  simpler  antithesis  of  the  text. 


no  other  than  that  with  which  God  himself  and    sc.  xix. 

Satan  oppose  each  other ;  and  the  one  undoes  the 

works  and  subverts  the  dogmas  of  the  other,  like 
two  kings  laying  waste  each  other's  kingdom. 
"  He  that  is  not  with  me  is  against  me,"  says 

Now,  with  respect  to  ' the  fear  that  the  multitude, 
who  are  prone  to  crimes,  will  abuse  such  liberty;' 
This  must  be  classed  amongst  those  disturb 
ances  we  have  been  speaking  of,  as  a  part  of  that 
temporal  leprosy  which  is  to  be  tolerated;  of  that 
evil  which  is  to  be  endured.  Nor  are  these  per 
sons  of  so  great  account,  that  the  word  of  God 
should  be  given  up  in  order  to  restrain  their 
abuse  of  it.  If  all  cannot  be  saved,  still  some  are 
saved ;  for  whose  sake  the  word  of  God  is  given : 
and  these  will  love  it  the  more  fervently,  and  con 
sent  to  it  the  more  reverently.  And  what  evils, 
pray,  have  wicked  men  not  done  even  before  this, 
when  there  was  no  word  of  God;  rather,  what 
good  did  they?  Has  not  the  world  for  ever  over 
flowed  with  war,  fraud,  violence,  discord,  and  all 
manner  of  wickedness,  so  that  Micah  compares 
the  very  best  amongst  them  to  a  thorn?  (Micah 
vii.  4.)  What  would  he  call  the  rest,  think  you? 
Now,  indeed,  it  begins  to  be  imputed  to  the  pro 
mulgation  of  the  Gospel,  that  the  world  is  wicked; 
because  through  the  good  Gospel  it  more  truly 
appears  how  wicked  the  world  was,  whilst  it  lived 
in  its  own  darkness,  without  the  Gospel.  So,  illite 
rate  men  attribute  it  to  literature,  that  their  igno 
rance  has  become  notorious  since  letters  have 
flourished.  Such  are  the  thanks  we  render  to  the 
word  of  life  and  salvation !  What  a  fear,  then, 
must  we  suppose  to  have  been  kindled  amongst 
the  Jews,  when  the  Gospel  absolved  all  men  from 
the  law  of  Moses  ! b  What  degree  of  licence  did 

b  Luther's  expressions  are  not  equivocal  here,  but  irrcstric- 
tive  and  direct :  '  absolved  all  men  from  the  law  of  Moses', 
without  excepting  any  part  of  that  law  ;  and  it  is  essential  to 



SEC.  xx. 

PARTI,  this  prodigious  liberty  not  seem  to  be  hereby 
conceding  to  wicked  men  ?  But  the  Gospel  was 
not  therefore  withheld.  Wicked  men  were  left 
to  their  own  ways,  and  it  was  charged  upon  the 
godly  not  to  use  their  liberty  for  an  occasion  to 
the  flesh.  (Gal.  v.  13.) 

Nor  does  that  part  of  your  counsel  or  remedy0 
stand  good,  where  you  say,  '  It  is  lawful  to  de- 
c^are  the  truth  amongst  any  persons,  at  any  time, 
about  per-  and  in  any  manner,  but  it  is  not  expedient  ;'  and 
an?'  ia™ee'  V6r^  a^surc^J  adduce  Paul's  words,  "  All  things 
penurious',  are  lawful  unto  me,  but  all  things  are  not  expe 
dient."  (1  Cor.  vi.  12.) 

Paul  is  not  here  speaking  about  doctrine,  or 
about  teaching  the  truth,  as  you,  confounding  his 
words,  and  drawing  them  whither  you  please, 
would  represent  him  to  do.  Nay,  he  would  have 
the  truth  proclaimed  every  where,  at  any  time,  by 
any  means  ;  insomuch,  that  he  even  rejoices  that 
Christ  should  be  preached  for  an  occasion,  and 
out  of  envy  ;  and  expressly  testifies,  in  the  very 
words,  that  he  rejoices  if  Christ  be  preached  by 
any  means.  A  Paul  is  speaking  about  the  practice 
and  use  of  doctrine  ;  to  wit,  of  those  vaunters  of 
Christian  liberty,  who,  "  seeking  their  own/'e 
cared  not  what  stumbling-blocks  they  made,  and 
what  offences  they  occasioned  by  them  to  the 
weak.  The  true  doctrine  is  to  be  preached 

his  argument  that  he  be  understood  thus  comprehensively.  — 
Else  what  ground  of  fear  ? 

c  Erasmus  interposes  in  the  form  of  an  adviser,  or  physician  ; 
reprobating  the  course  pursued  by  others,  and  suggesting  a 
better  :  this  was  no  other  than  to  modify  the  truth  by  squaring 
it  to  times,  places,  and  persons. 

d  The  allusion  is  evidently  to  Philip  i.  18,  which  fully  jus 
tifies  his  '  quovis  modo.'  "  What  then  ?  notwithstanding  every 
way,  whether  in  pretence  or  in  truth,  Christ  is  preached  ;  and 
I  therein  do  rejoice,  yea,  and  will  rejoice."  The  '  every  way', 
or  '  by  any  means',  is  '  whatsoever  spirit  he  be  preached  with'j 
'  sincere  or  insincere.' 

e  "  For  all  seek  their  own,  not  the  things  which  are  Jesus 
Christ's."  (Philip  ii.  21.) 


always,  openly,  steadily,  never  to  be  turned  aslant,    sc.  xx. 

never  to  be  concealed  :f  for  there  is  none  occasion  

of  stumbling  in  it;  'tis  the  rod  of  straightness.g  And 
who  ever  empowered  you,  or  gave  you  the  right, 
to  bind  the  Christian  doctrine  to  places,  persons, 
times,  cases ;  when  Christ  wills  it  to  be  published, 
and  to  reign  in  the  world  with  the  most  perfect 
freedom  ?  "  For  the  word  of  God  is  not  bound," 
says  Paul,  (2  Tim.  ii.  9.)  and  shall  Erasmus  bind 
it?  Nor  hath  God  given  us  a  word  which  is  to 
make  selection  of  places,  persons,  and  times ; 
since  Christ  says,  (f  Go  ye  into  all  the  world." 
He  does  not  say,  '  Go  to  a  certain  place,  and 
to  a  certain  place  go  not/  as  Erasmus  speaks. 
Again ;  "  Preach  the  Gospel  to  every  creature." 
(Mark  xvi.  15.)  He  does  not  say,  '  Preach  it  to 
some,  to  some  preach  it  not/  In  short,  you  pre 
scribe  acceptance  of  persons,  acceptance  of  places, 
and  acceptance  of  manner ;  that  is  to  say,  TIME 
SERVINGS  ;  in  ministering  the  word  of  God  ; 
whereas,  this  is  one  great  part  of  the  glory  of 
the  word,  that  "  there  is  no  acceptance  of  per 
sons"  (as  Paul  says)  and  "  God  respecteth  not 
persons."  You  see  again,  how  rashly  you  make 
war  uponb  the  word  of  God,  as  though  you  pre- 

f  Obliquanda,']  Obliq.  is  sometimes  applied  to  '  the  veering 
and  tacking'  of  ships  ;  but  the  essential  idea  is  '  bending,  or 
making  crooked,  what  is  in  itself  straight.'  It  is  here  opposed 
to  constanter,  as  '  celanda'  is  to  '  palam'.  The  truth  must  be 
preached  in  its  straightness,  or  perpendicularity,  not  bent  down 
wards  or  sideways,  that  it  may  be  accommodated  to  the  taste, 
or  lusts,  or  supposed  unaptnesses  of  the  hearer. 

K  The  allusion  is  evidently  to  Psa.  xiv.  6.  Luther  seems  to 
have  understood  the  Gospel  or  doctrine  of  Christ  by  this  rod 
or  sceptre  ;  as  he  does  also,  though  not  exclusively,  in  his  ex 
position  of  this  psalm.  (Vide  in  loco.)  I  should  rather  under 
stand  it  of  his  own  personal  conduct,  as  a  prince.  But  according 
to  Luther's  allusion,  the  truth  being  a  straight  or  upright  rod, 
he  who  walks  by  it  will  walk  straightly,  or  uprightly,  and  will 
not  give  occasion  to  others  to  walk  crookedly,  or  pronely. 

h  The  word  of  God  teaches  that  there  is  no  respect  of  per 
sons,  and  that  God  regardeth  not  the  persons  of  men.  Coloss. 
iii.  25.  Rom.  ii.  6.  Gal.  ii.  6.  Ephes.  vi.  9.  James  ii.  1.  Luke 


PART.  I.   ferred  your  own  thoughts  and  counsels  very  far 
before  it. 

If  now  we  should  request  you  to  distinguish 
times,  persons,  and  modes  of  speaking  the  truth 
for  us,  when  will  you  determine  them  ?  The 
world  will  have  laid  its  end  to  sleep,  and  time  be 
no  more,  before  you  have  fixed  upon  a  single 
sure  rule.  Meanwhile,  what  becomes  of  the 
teacher's  office?  where  shall  we  find  the  souls 
which  are  to  be  taught  ?  Nay,  how  is  it  possible 
that  you  should  lay  down  any  sure  rule,  when  you 
know  no  rate  by  which  to  estimate  persons,  times, 
and  modes  of  speech  ?  But  if  you  assuredly  knew 
such  a  rate,  still  you  are  ignorant  of  the  hearts 
of  men.  Unless,  indeed,  you  should  choose  to 
adopt  this;  standard  for  your  manner  of  speaking, 
for  your  time  and  your  person;  ' teach  the  truth, 
so  that  the  Pope  shall  not  be  indignant,  so  that 
Ca3sar  shall  not  be  angry,  so  that  the  cardinals 
and  princes  be  not  displeased;  provide  further, 
that  there  be  no  tumults  or  commotions  in  the 
world,  and  that  the  multitude  be  not  stumbled, 

xx.  21.  Acts  x.  34,  &c.  &c.  How  contrary  is  it,  then,  to  the  clear 
testimony  of  the  word,  which  declares  that  God  mocks  all 
human  distinctions  ;  that  Jew  and  Greek,  master  and  servant, 
or  slave,  rulers  and  subjects,  pillars  of  the  church,  and  men 
disinterested  in  the  church,  are  alike  regarded  and  disregarded 
by  Him  ;  to  have  respect  to  these  distinctions,  as  Erasmus 
would  counsel  us,  in  the  ministry  of  the  word  !  These  testi 
monies  are  sometimes  perverted  to  mean  a  denial  of  God's 
electing  grace. ;  which  they  do  not,  in  the  slightest  degree,  im 
pugn,  nor  did  Luther  conceive  so.  He  maintained  that  grace 
as  firmly  as  any  man.  The  truth  is,  '  respect  of  persons'  in 
Scripture,  means  '  respect  of  persons  according  to  human  and 
earthly  distinctions';  in  which  regards,  God,  contrariwise  to 
man,  puts  no  difference  between  them.  His  distinctions,  which, 
lie  palpably  makes,  are  built  upon  another  foundation.  "  Where 
there  is  neither  Greek  nor  Jew,  circumcision  nor  uncircum- 
sion,  barbarian,  Scythian,  bond  nor  free  ;  but  Christ  is  all,  and 
in  all."  (Coloss.  iii.  1 1.)  But  then.  "  Blessed  be  the  God  and 
Father  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  who  hath  blessed  us  with  all 
spiritual  blessings  (or  blessedness)  in  heavenly  places  in  Christ ; 
according  as  He  hath  chosen  us  in  Him  before  the  foundation  of  the 
world,"  &c.  Eph.  i.  3,  4.  &c. 


and  made  worse/     You  have  already  seen,  what   sc.xxi. 

sort  of  a  counsel  this  is.     But  you  choose  to  play   

the  rhetorician  after  this  manner,  with  idle  words, 
because  you  must  say  something. 

How  much  better  were  it  for  us  wretched  men 
to  give  to  God,  who  knows  all  hearts,  the  glory 
of  prescribing  the  manner,  persons,  and  times  of 
speaking  the  truth  !  He  knows  the  (  what',  the 
'  when',  the  (  how',  and  the  c  to  whom',  we  ought 
to  speak ;  and  his  injunction  is,  that  his  Gospel, 
which  is  necessary  to  all,  should  know  no  limits  of 
place  or  time,  but  should  be  preached  to  all  men, 
at  all  times,  and  in  all  places.  I  have  already 
shewn  that  the  things  set  forth  in  the  Scripture 
are  such  as  lie  exposed  to  the  view  of  all  men; 
such  as,  whether  we  will  or  no,  must  be  spread 
abroad  amongst  the  common  people ;  and  such  as 
are  salutary.  What  you  also  maintained  yourself 
in  your  Paraclesis,  when  you  gave  better  counsel 
than  you  do  now.  Let  us  leave  it  to  those  who 
are  unwilling  that  souls  should  be  redeemed ;  such 
as  the  Pope  and  his  myrmidons ;  to  bind  the  word 
of  God,  and  shut  men  out  from  eternal  life  and  the 
kingdom  of  heaven ;  neither  entering  in  them 
selves,  nor  suffering  others  to  enter  in:  whose 
mad  rage  you,  Erasmus,  are  perniciously  serving 
by  this  suggestion  of  yours. 

With  the  same  sort  of  wariness  you,  in  the  next  The  Fa- 
place,  suggest  that  we  ought  not  to  make  public  the™  not 

j      i         A-  •  -i-  J.T  •  i_-    i  to  be  set 

declarations  in  opposition  to  any  thing  which  may  On  a  level 
have  been  determined  wrongly  in  general  conn-  with. 
cils ;  lest  we  should  give  a  handle  for  despising  theh-Sdeci- 
t  he  authority  of  the  Fathers.  sions  have 

This  you  say  to  please  the  Pope;  who  hears  it  ^buJ0" 
with  more  pleasure  than  he  does  the  Gospel :  un-  from  the 
,;  grateful  in  the  extreme,  if  he  does  not,  in  return,  word- 
i  honour  you  with  a  cardinal's  hat  and  revenues ! 
'  'Meanwhile,  what  is  to  become  of  those  souls  which 
!  have  been  fettered  and  slain  by  the  unrighteous 
decree?     Is   this   nothing  to   you?     Why,   you 





ness  of 
certain  pa 
'all  things 
by  neces- 

always  feel,  or  pretend  to  feel,  that  the  statutes 
of  men  may  be  observed  without  any  danger ;  in 
coincidence  with  the  pure  word  of  God.  If  they 
could,  I  would  readily  accord  with  this  propo 
sition  of  yours.  So  then,  if  you  be  still  ignorant, 
I  will  again  inform  you,  that  e  human  statutes 
cannot  be  observed  in  conjunction  with  the  word 
of  God/  For  the  former  bind  men's  consciences, 
the  latter  looses  them ;  and  they  fight  one  with 
another  like  fire  and  water,  except  the  former  be 
kept  freely ;  that  is,  as  statutes  not  binding :  a 
thing  very  contrary  to  the  Pope's  will ;  and  which 
must  be  so,  unless  he  should  wish  to  destroy  and 
put  an  end  to  his  own  kingdom ;  which  is  only 
kept  up  by  ensnaring  and  fettering  men's  consci 
ences,  whilst  the  Gospel  declares  them  to  be  free. 
The  authority  of  the  Fathers,  then,  must  be  set  at 
nought,  and  all  bad  decrees  (in  which  number  I 
include  all  such  determinations  as  are  not  war 
ranted  by  the  word  of  God)  must  be  torn  in  pieces, 
and  thrown  to  the  dogs  ;  for  Christ's  authority  is 
of  another  sort  than  that  of  the  Fathers.  In  short, 
if  your  statement  comprehends  the  word  of  God, 
it  is  a  wicked  one :  if  it  be  confined  to  other 
writings,  your  verbose  discussion  of  the  sentiment 
which  you  recommend  is  nothing  to  me ;  my  as 
sertions  have  respect  to  the  word  of  God  only.1 

In  the  last  part  of  your  Preface,  you  seriously 
dissuade  us  from  this  sort  of  doctrine,  and  fancy 
that  you  have  almost  succeeded.  What  is  more 
injurious,  you  say,  than  that  this  paradox  should 
be  published  to  the  world,  that  '  whatsoever  is 
done  by  us  is  not  done  by  Freewill,  but  by  mere 

'  Erasmus  had  said,  that  bad  decisions  should  be  hushed  up  ; 
and  if  spoken  of,  it  should  rather  be  said,  that  they  were  good  at 
the  time,  though  unseasonable  now.  Luther  replies,  if  your 
remark  be  intended  to  affect  any  decision  which  is  founded 
upon  the  word  of  God,  the  sentiment  is  impious.  With  res 
pect  to  any  other  sort  of  decisions,  whether  you  choose  to  call 
them  pious  and  holy,  or  acknowledge  them  to  be  faulty,  I  have 
nothing  to  do  with  them. 


necessity'?     And  that  saying  of  Augustine's  that  sc.  xxn. 

'  God  worketh  both  good  and  evil  in  us  ;  that  he   • 

rewards  his  own  good  works  in  us,  and  punishes  sityVG°<* 

i  •  i_    j  i       •  , .)       TT  .    ,      .       all  in  all'. 

his  own  bad  works  in  us' !  Here  you  are  rich  in 
giving,  or  rather,  in  demanding  reasons.  '  What 
a  window  will  this  saying  open  to  impiety,  if  it  be 
commonly  published  amongst  men  ?  What  wicked 
man  will  correct  his  life  ?  Who  will  think  he  is 
loved  of  God?  Who  will  strive  with  his  flesh?' 

I  am  surprised  that,  in  this  mighty  vehemence 
and  agony  of  yours,  you  did  not  remember  your 
cause,  and  say,  what  will  then  become  of  Freewill? 
Let  me  also  become  speaker  in  my  turn,  Erasmus, 
and  I  will  ask  you,  if  you  account  these  paradoxes 
to  be  the  invention  of  men,  why  dispute?  why 
boil  with  rage?  Whom  are  you  opposing?  Is 
there  a  man  in  all  the  world,  at  this  day,  who  has 
more  vehemently  inveighed  against  the  dogmas  of 
men,  than  Luther  has  done  ?  So  that  this  admoni 
tion  of  yours  is  nothing  to  me.  But,  if  you  be 
lieve  these  paradoxes  to  be  the  word  of  God, 
I  what  face  have  you?k  what  modesty  have  you? 
Where  is  now — I  will  not  say,  that  wonted  so 
briety  of  Erasmus,  but — that  fearful  reverence 
which  is  due  to  the  true  God  ;  when  you  as 
sert,  that  nothing  can  be  affirmed  more  unpro- 
fitably  than  this  word  of  God  ?  What !  I  suppose 
your  Creator  is  to  learn  from  his  creature  what  is 
useful  to  be  preached,  and  what  not  ?  Yes, 
this  foolish  and  ill-advised  God  has  not  known 
hitherto  what  is  expedient  to  be  taught;  but  now 
at  last  his  master  Erasmus  will  prescribe  to  him 
!the  manner  in  which  he  shall  be  wise,  and  in  which 
he  shall  deliver  his  commands  !  He,  forsooth, 
would  have  been  ignorant,  unless  you  had  taught 
him,  that  your  inference  follows  upon  his  paradox! 

k  Ubl  frons   tua,.~]     The    face    is    the   index  of  sensibility : 
"ffrontery  is  the  result  of  obduracy.     Luther's  question  implies 
you  can  have  no  face  ;  you  must  have  a  brow  of  brass,  to 
speak  so.' 


PART  i.  If  God,  then,,  hath  been  willing  to  have  such 

things  spoken  openly,  and  spread  abroad  amongst 

the  common  people,  without  regard  to  con 
sequences  ;  who  are  you,  that  you  should  forbid 
him  ? 

Paul  the  Apostle  explicitly  declares  the  same 
things,  in  his  Epistle  to  the  Romans,  open-mouthed, 
not  in  a  corner,  but  publicly  and  before  the  whole 
world,  in  even  harsher  words ;  saying,  "  Whom 
he  will  he  hardeneth."  (Rom.  ix.  18.)  And  again, 
"  God  willing  to  make  his  wrath  known."  (Rom.  ix. 
22.)  What  is  harsher  (to  the  flesh,  I  mean)  than 
that  saying  of  Christ,  "  Many  are  called,  but  few 
chosen."  (Matt.  xxii.  14.)  And  again,  "I  know 
whom  I  have  chosen."1  (John  xiii.  18.)  All  these 
sayings,  forsooth,  if  we  listen  to  your  suggestions, 
are  amongst  the  most  injurious  that  can  be  con 
ceived  ;  inasmuch  as  they  are  the  instruments  by 
which  ungodly  men  fall  gradually m  into  despera 
tion,  hatred  of  God,  and  blasphemy. 

Here,  as  I  perceive,  you  reckon  that  the  truth 
and  usefulness  of  Scripture  are  to  be  weighed  and 
decided  by  the  judgment  of  men,  and  these  no 
other  than  the  most  ungoldly ;  so  that,  what  they 
shall  be  pleased  with,  and  account  tolerable,  that, 
verily,  is  true,  is  divine,  is  salutary;  and,  what 
shall  be  otherwise  in  their  eyes,  that  is  straight- 
ways  useless,  false,  and  pernicious.  What  do 
you  propose  by  this  counsel,  but  that  God's  words 
should  be  dependent  upon  the  will  and  authority 
of  men,  so  as  to  stand  or  fall  by  them  ?  whereas 
the  Scripture,  on  the  other  hand,  says,  that  every 
thing  stands  or  falls  by  the  will  and  authority  oi 
God ;  nay,  that  "  all  the  earth  must  keep  silence 
before  the  face  of  the  Lord."  (Hab.  ii.  20.)  To 
speak  as  you  do,  a  man  must  imagine  the  living 
God  to  be  nothing  else  but  some  light  and  igno- 

1  See  Chap.  i.  Sect.  iii.  note  '. 

ni  Prolabantur.']    Translate  '  sensim  devenire,'   'palatim  ac- 


rant  sort  of  Ranter,  declaiming-   in   a  rostrum;  sc.xxri.  words  you  are  at  liberty,  if  you  choose,  to  

interpret  any  how  you  please ;  accepting'  or  re 
jecting  them,  according  to  the  emotions  or  affec 
tions  which  you  see  produced  by  them  in  wicked 
men.  You  clearly  shew  here,  my  Erasmus,  how 
sincere  you  was  before,  in  persuading  us  to  re 
spect  the  awful  majesty  of  the  divine  judgments. 
When  the  question  was  about  the  dogmas  of 
Scripture,  and  there  was  no  need  to  call  for  reve 
rence  towai'ds  them,  on  the  ground  of  their  being 
shut  up,  and  hidden  from  view;  inasmuch  as 
there  are  none  of  this  sort ;  you,  in  words  of 
great  solemnity,  threatened  us  with  Corycian 
caves,  lest  we  should  break  in  curiously:  so  as 
almost  to  deter  us,  by  fear,  from  reading-  Scrip 
ture  at  all ;  that  very  Scripture  which  Christ  and 
his  Apostles,  and  even  your  own  pen,  elsewhere, 
so  greatly  urge  and  persuade  us  to  study !  But, 
here,  when  we  are  actually  arrived,  not  at  the 
dogmas  of  Scripture  and  the  Corycian  cave  only, 
but  truly  at  the  awful  secrets  of  the  divine  ma 
jesty  ;  to  wit,  why  he  works  in  the  manner  which 
hath  been  mentioned ;  here,  I  say,  you  break 
through  bolts  and  bars,  and  rush  forwards,  with 
all  but  blasphemies  in  your  mouth ;  shewing  all 
possible  indignation  against  God,  because  you 
are  not  permitted  to  see  the  design  and  arrange 
ment  of  such  a  judgment  of  his  ! n  Why  do  not 

n  Non  licet  videre.']  Referring  to  Augustine's  saying,  that 
'  God  worketh  all  tilings  in  us  ;  rewarding  his  own  good,  and 
I  punishing  his  own  evil.'  In  a  future  part  of  the  work,  where 
this  subject  is  more  fully  gone  into,  and  to  which  I  defer  my 
observations  on  it  as  here  briefly  glanced  at ;  I  trust  it  will  ap 
pear,  that  the  word  of  God  does  not  really  leave  us  in  that 
depth  of  darkness  winch  Luther's  language  here  implies,  and 
which  his  fuller  statement,  hereafter  made,  affirms.  God  has 
not  revealed  himself  that  he  might  remain  hidden  ;  as  un 
known,  or  even  yet  more  unknown  than  he  was  before  ;  but, 
amidst  the  unsearchableness  of  his  infinity,  has,  by  his  counsel 
of  manifestation,  which  the  Scripture  records,  unveiled  much 




Answers  to 
who  will 
take  pains, 
&c.?  Two 
why  these 
should  be 


you  here,  also,  pretend  obscurities  and  ambigui 
ties  ?  Why  do  not  you  both  restrain  yourself,,  and 
deter  others,  from  prying  into  those  things  which 
God  hath  willed  to  be  kept  secret  from  us,,  and 
hath  not  published  in  his  word?  You  should 
have  laid  your  hand  upon  your  mouth  here,  re 
vering  the  unrevealed  mystery,  adoring  the  secret 
counsels  of  the  Divine  Majesty,  and  exclaiming 
with  Paul,  "  Nay,  but,  O  man,  who  art  thou  that 
repliest  against  God  ?"  (Rom.  ix.  20.) 

You  say,  ( who  will  take  pains  to  correct  his 
life?'  I  answer,  no  man;  nor  will  any  one  be 
even  able  to  do  so ;  for  God  pays  no  regard  to 
your  amenders  of  life,  which  have  not  the  Spirit, 
since  they  are  but  hypocrites.  But  the  elect  and 
godly  will  be  amended  by  the  Holy  Spirit:  the 
rest  will  perish  unamended.  For  Augustine  does 
not  say  that  the  good  works  of  none  will  be 
crowned,  nor  yet  that  the  good  works  of  all  will 
be  crowned ;  but  that  the  good  works  of  some  are 
crowned.  There  will  be  some,  therefore,  who 
amend  their  life.  You  say,  'Who  will  believe 
that  he  is  beloved  of  God  ?'  I  answer,  no  man 
will  believe  so,  or  be  able  to  believe  so ;  but  the 
elect  will  believe  so  :  the  rest,  not  believing,  will 
perish  ;  storming  and  blaspheming,  as  you  do  in 
this  place.  There  will  be  some,  therefore,  that 

As  to  what  you  say,  '  that  a  window  is  opened 
to  impiety  by  these  doctrines ' — What  if  the  dis 
orders  resulting  from  them  be  referred  to  that 
leprosy  of  tolerable  evil,  which  I  have  already 
hinted  at?  Still,  by  the  same  dogmas,  a  door  is 
at  the  same  time  opened  to  righteousness,  and  an 
entrance  into  heaven,  and  a  way  to  God,  for  the 

of  himself  to  our  view  ;  which,  before  and  without  it,  was,  and 
must  for  ever  have  remained,  concealed.  Luther — prodigy  as 
he  was,  in  his  day — had  not  the  clue  of  God-manifestation  to 
guide  him  through  the  labyrinth  ;  and,  therefore,  counted 
much  that  is  light,  darkness. 


elect  and  godly.     Now  if,   according  to  your  ad-  sc.xxm. 

vice,  we  should  abstain  from  these  dogmas,  and  

should  hide  this  word  of  God  from  men,  so  that 
each  one,  beguiled  by  a  false  persuasion  of  his 
safety,  should  not  learn  to  fear  God,  and  to  be 
humbled,  that,  through  the  means  of  wholesome 
fear,  he  may,  at  length,  come  to  grace  and  love ; 
then,  we  shall  have  nobly  closed  your  window  of 
impiety ;  but,  in  its  place,  we  shall  open  folding 
doors ;  nay,  pits  and  gulfs  ;  not  only  to  impiety, 
but  even  to  the  belly  of  hell;  for  ourselves  and 
for  all  men.  Thus,  we  should  neither  enter 
heaven  ourselves,  nor  suffer  others,  who  were 
entering,  to  go  in. 

'What  is  the  use  or  necessity,  then,  of  publish 
ing  such  things  to  the  world,  when  so  many  evils 
seem  to  spring  from  them  ?' 

I  answer;  it  were  enough  to  say,  (  God  would 
have  these  things  published  :  and,  as  to  the  prin 
ciples  of  the  divine  will,  we  have  no  right  to  ask 
them ;  we  ought  simply  to  adore  that  will,  giving 
glory  to  God  ;  because  He,  the  only  just  and  wise 
one,  injures  no  man,  and  cannot  possibly  do  any 
thing  foolishly  or  rashly ;  though   it  may  appear 
far  otherwise  to  us.'     Godly  men  are  content  with 
this  answer.  But,  to  be  lavish  of  our  abundance,0 
let   it  be    replied,  that  '  two  things  require  the 
ipreaching    of    these    truths/     The    first   is,   the 
•humbling  of  our  pride,  and  a  thorough  knowledge 
)f  the  grace  of  God  :  the  second,  the  very  nature 
)f  Christian  faith.     For  the  first,   God  hath  pro- 
nised  his  grace,  with  certainty,  to  the  humbled  ; 
hat  is,  to  those  who  bewail  themselves  in  self- 
lespair.    But  man  cannot  be  thoroughly  humbled, 

Super-erogemus.~\  '  To  lay  out  and  bestow  over  and  above 
/hat  is  due.'  Erogo,  is  properly  applied  to  '  public  money, 
xacted  and  issued  upon  petition  and  by  order '  ;  thence  trans- 
?rred  to  '  private  expenditure.'  Ut  ex  ubundantid  super,  implies, 
a  superabundance  of  reasons  might  be  alleged,  where 
one  is  necessary. 


PART  i.  till  lie  knows  that  his  salvation  lies  altogether  be 
yond,  and  out  of  the  reach  of  his  own  strength, 
counsels,  desires,  will,  and  works ;  depending 
absolutely  upon  the  counsel,  will,  and  work,  of 
another  ;  that  is,  of  God  only.  For,  as  long  as  he 
is  persuaded  that  he  can  do  the  least  thing  pos 
sible  for  his  own  salvation,  he  continues  in  self- 
conh'dence,  and  does  not  absolutely  despair  of 
himself;  therefore,  he  is  not  humbled  before  God, 
but  goes  round  about  anticipating  for  himself,  or 
hoping,  or,  at  least,  washing  to  obtain,  a  place,  a 
time,  and  some  performance  of  his  own,  by  which 
He  may  at  length  arrive  at  salvation.15  On  the 
other  hand,  he  who  has  not  the  shadow  of  a  doubt 
that  he  is  dependent,  wholly  and  solely,  upon  the 
will  of  God — this  man  is  complete  in  his  self- 
despair  ;  this  man  chooses  nothing,**  but  waits  for 
God  to  work  ;  this  man  is  next  neighbour  to  that 
grace  of  God,  which  shall  make  him  whole.  So 
that  these  things  are  published  for  the  elects' 
sake  ;  that  they  may  by  these  means  be  humbled 
and  brought  to  know  their  own  nothingness ; 
and  so  may  be  saved.  The  rest  resist  this  sort  of 
humiliation;  nay,  they  condemn  the  teaching  of 
this  self-despair  ;  they  would  have  some  very 
small  modicum  of  power  left  to  themselves.  These 
persons,  secretly,  remain  proud,  and  adversaries 
to  the  grace  of  God.  This,  I  say,  is  one  reason 
why  these  truths  should  be  preached;  that  the 

P  Quo  tandem  perveniat.']  The  contrast  is  between  that  direct 
going  to  God  of  the  truly  humbled  sinner ;  and  the  circuitous, 
procrastinative,  self-centered  expectations  of  the  man  who  does 
not  yet  know  the  whole  of  his  lostness  and  impotency. 

'i  Nihil  eligit.']  In  direct  contrast  with  the  '  sibi  praesumit, 
sperat,  optat*  of  the  former  sentence  ;  he  does  not  desire  or  ex 
pect  any  particular  combination  of  time  and  place,  in  which  he 
may  perform  some  great  work  for  himself ;  bullies  passive  in 
the  hands  of  God,  leaving  it  to  God  even  to  choose  for  him. 
The  expression  reminds  us  of  St.  Paul's  language,  under  other 
circumstances,  which  was  probably  in  Luther's  mind  -}  "  yet 
what  I  shall  choose  I  wot  not."  (Phil.  i.  22.) 


godly,  being  humbled,  may  come  to  a  real  know-  sc.xxur. 
ledge r  of  the  promise  of  grace,  may  call  upon  the 
name  of  the  Lord,  and  may  receive  its  fulfilment. 

The  second  reason  for  this  preaching  is,  that, 
faith  being  conversant  about  things  which  do  not 
appear ;  to  have  place  for  faith,  all  the  things 
believed  must  be  hidden  things.  Now,  things 
are  never  hidden  further  frcon  us,  than  when  the 
contrary  to  them  is  set  before  us  by  sense  and  ex 
perience.  Thus  God,  whilst  he  makes  us  alive, 
does  it  by  killing  us;  whilst  he  justifies  us,  does 
it  by  making  us  guilty;  whilst  he  lifts  us  up  to 
heaven,  does  it  by  plunging  us  into  hell.  As  saith 
the  Scripture,  "  The  Lord  killeth,  and  maketh 
alive ;  he  bringeth  down  to  the  grave,  and 
bringeth  up  :"  (1  Sam.  ii.  6.)  of  which,  this  is  not 
the  place  to  discourse  at  large.  Those,  who  have 
seen  our  books,  are  hackneyed  in  these  topics. 
Thus  He  hides  his  eternal  mercy  and  pity  under 
eternal  wrath  ;  his  righteousness  under  iniquity. 

This  is  the  highest  degree  of  faith,  to  believe  \ 
hat  He  is  merciful,  who  saves  so  few,  and  con-j; 
demns  so  many;  to  believe  Him  just,  who,  of  his 
own  will,  makes  us  necessary  objects  of  damna- 
ion ; s  thus  seeming,  according  to  Erasmus's  ac 
count,  to  be  delighted  with  the  torments  of  the 
wretched,  and  to  deserve  hatred,  rather  than  love.  / 
if  then,  I  could,  by  any  means,  comprehend  how 
this  God  is  pitiful  and  just,  who  shews  so  great 
wrath  and  injustice,  there  would  be  no  need  of 
aith ;  but   now,    since  this   cannot    be    compre 
hended,  space  is  given  for  the  exercise  of  faith, 
whilst  these  things  are  preached  and  published ; 


r  Cognoscant.']    '  Nosco,  vel  bene  nosco' ;  '  to  know  a  person, 
or  thing,  not  known  before ;'  opposed  to  '  agnosco.' 

8  Necessarib  damnabiles.']  We  were  so  created,  have  been  so  \ 
generated  and  brought  out  into  manifest  existence,,  are  so  con-  \ 
stituted  and  so  situated,  that  we  cannot  choose  but  be  just  \ 
objects  of  God's  eternal  damnation.  This  necessity  is  not  \ 
blind  Fate,  but  arises  out  of  the  appointments,  arrangements, 
.uid  operations  of  God's  counselled  will. 



PART  i.   even  as  the  faith  of  life  is  exercised  in  death,* 

whilst  God  is  in  the  very  act  of  killing  us.  Enough 

for  the  present,  in  a  preface. 

By  this  proceeding  of  theirs,  those  who  assert 
and  defend  these  paradoxes,  do,  in  fact,  better 
provide  against  the  impiety  of  the  multitude,  than 
you  do,  by  your  counsel  of  silence  and  abstinence; 
which,  after  all,  avail;,  nothing.  For,  if  you  either 
believe,  or  suspect  that  they  are  true  (being,  as 
they  are,  paradoxes  of  no  small  moment),  through 
that  insatiable  desire  which  men  have  for  scru 
tinizing  secret  things  (then,  most  of  all,  when 
most  of  all  we  wish  to  conceal  them),  you  will 
cause  men  to  have  a  much  greater  desire  for 
learning  whether  these  paradoxes  be  true,  by 
publishing  this  caution  of  yours ;  you  will  have 
set  them  on  fire,  no  doubt,  by  your  eagerness. 
Thus  it  will  be  found,  that  none  of  us  has  ever 
yet  given  such  occasion  to  the  promulgation  of 
these  things,  as  you  have  done  by  this  devout  and 
vehement  admonition.  You  would  have  acted 
more  prudently,  in  quite  holding  your  tongue 
about  shunning  these  paradoxes,  if  you  meant  to 
obtain  your  wish.  All  is  over  now  :  since  you  do 
not  absolutely  deny  that  they  are  true,  they  can- 

*  Fides  vit<z.~]  Luther  has  some  allusion  possibly  to  Job.xiii.15. 
"  Though  he  slay  me,  yet  will  I  trust  in  him." — '  Faith 
of  eternal  life  ;'  the  belief  that  he  shall  possess  that  life  ;  is 
exercised  by  the  dying-  man,  in  the  moment  when  God  is  killing 
him.  '  What  !  He  give  thee  life,  who  is  now  killing  thee  ?'  Yes  ; 
so  faith  speaks. — Even  so,  these  apparent  contradictions  to  the 
justice  and  other  perfections  of  God,  kill  faith;  but  it  is  exer 
cised  in  the  midst  of  this  death.  A  fine  thought !  But  it 
will  be  seen  elsewhere,  as  I  trust,  that  Luther  misconceives 
and  overstates  this  difficulty  ;  through  not  seeing  far  enough 
into  the  counsel  and  actings  of  God.  There  is  manifestly  no 
injustice  in  the  divine  procedure  ;  when  that  procedure  is 
viewed  in  its  real  nature  and  circumstances,  as  revealed.  Nor 
are  we  without  a  manifested  end,  which  the  spiritual  mind  en 
tirely  approves  and  rejoices  in,  for  that  severity,  which  is  so 
hateful  to  carnal  man.  But  it  requires  great  depth,  as-well  as 
distinctness  of  vision,  so  to  see,  as  to  be  verily  and  indeed  satis 
fied  with  this  mystery  of  God,  by  which  He  is  making  himself 


not  hereafter  be  concealed,  but  will  draw  every  sc.xxiv. 
body  to  the  investigation  of  them,  by  the  sus-  - 
picion  that  they  are  true."   Either  deny,  therefore, 
that  they  are  true ;  or  keep  silence  first  yourself,  if 
you  mean  that  others  should  be  silent. 

With  respect  to  the  other  paradox,  that  '  what-  The  Pai<a- 
ever  we  do  is  done  by  mere  necessity,  and  not  by  «aiihuman 
Freewill ;'  let  us  look  a  little  into  it  here,  that  we  works  are 
may  forbid  its  being  called  most  pernicious.  What  I 
say  at  present  is,  when  it  shall  have  been  shewn  and 
that  our  salvation  is  placed  beyond  the  reach  of  fended- 
our  own  power  and  wisdom,  depending  upon  the 
work  of  God  only  (which  I  hope  to  prove  fully, 
hereafter,  in  the  body  of  my  discourse),  will  it  not 
clearly  follow,  that   '  whilst  God  is   not  present 
as  a  worker  in  us,  every  thing  is  evil  which  we 
do  ;  and  that  we  do  necessarily  those  things  which 
are  of  no  profit  to  our  own  salvation  ?'     For,  if 
it  is  not  ive,  but  only  God,  that  works  salvation 
in  us ;   we  do   nothing  that  is  profitable  to  our 
salvation,  whether  we  will  or  no,  before  he  works 
in  us.     When  I  say  necessarily,  I  do  not  mean  by 
compulsion ;  but,  as  it  is  said,  by  a  necessity  of 
immutability,  not  of  compulsion :  that  is,  when  a 
man  is  destitute  of  the  Spirit  of  God,  he  does  not 
\\ork.  evil  against  his  will,  through  a  violence  put 
ipon  him;  as  if  some  one  should  seize  him  by  the 
limit,  and  twist  him  round  ;  just  as  a  thief  or 
lighwayman  is  carried,   against  his  will,  to  the 
Callows ;  but  he  works  it  of  his  own  accord,  and 
vith   a  willing   will.     But  then    he  cannot,    by 
lis    own   strength,  lay  aside,  restrain,  or  change 
his  good  pleasure,  or  will  to  act;  but  he  goes  on 
,o  Billing  and  liking :  and,  even  if  he  should  be  corn 
s'  >elled  from  without  to  do  something  else  by  force, 
till  his  will  remains  averse  within  him,  and  he  is 
ngry  with  the  person  who  compels  or  resists  him. 


u  Suspicione  veritaiis.']     Interdum  suspicio  est  '  opinio,'  '  co- 
I  iitatio,'   '  conjectura,'  '  levis   cognitio  :'    a  sort  of  'surmise' 
i  nat  they  may  be  true. 



PART  I.  NOW,  he  would  not  be  angry,  if  his  mind  were 
changed,  and  he  were  following  the  force  which 
acts  upon  him  willingly.  This  is  what  I  at  pre 
sent  call  ca  necessity  of  immutability';  that  is, 
the  will  cannot  change  itself  and  turn  another 
way,  but  is  rather  provoked  the  more  to  will,  by 
being  resisted  :  as  is  proved  by  its  indignation. 
This  would  not  be,  if  the  will  were  free,  or  pos 
sessed  Freewill.  Appeal  to  experience.  How 
impracticable  those  persons  are,  who  cleave  to  any 
thing  with  affection.  If  these  persons  cease  to 
cleave,  they  so  cease  through  violence,  or  through 
the  greater  advantage  which  they  are  to  derive 
from  something  else  ;  they  never  cease  to  cleave, 
but  by  constraint  :  whereas,  if  they  have  no  affec 
tion  for  the  thing,  they  suffer,  what  may,  to  go  for 
wards  and  be  done. 

So,  if,  on  the  other  hand,  God  work  in  us,  the 
will  which  has  been  changed  and  softly  whispered 
to  by  the  Spirit  of  God,  again  wills  and  acts  ac 
cording  to  its  own  sheer  lust,  proneness,  and  self- 
accord,  not  compelledly  ;  so    that   it   cannot   be 
changed  into  another  sort  of  will  by  any  opposite 
excitements,  nor  overcome  or  compelled,  even  by 
the  gates  of  hell  ;  but  goes  on  willing  and  liking 
and  loving  good,  just   as   it  before  willed   and 
liked    and    loved   evil.     For,    experience    again 
proves,  how  invincible  and  constant  holy  men  are. 
whilst  they  are  goaded  on  by  force  to  other  ob 
jects  ;  insomuch,  that  they  are  from  thence  the 
more  provoked  to  will  :  just  as  fire  is  inflamed  bj 
the   wind,  rather   than   extinguished  !     So    that 
neither  in  this  case  is  there  any  freedom  in  tin 
will   to   turn  itself  another  way,   or    will    some 
thing  else,    as    the    free  will    might   choose  ;   si 
long  as  the  Spirit  and  God's  grace  remain  in  th 

In  short,  if  we  be  under  the  power  of  the  Go 
of  this  world,   being  destitute  of  the  work  an 
•  Spirit  of  the  true  God,  we  are  held  captive  by  hii 


at  his  will ;  as  Paul  says  (2  Tim.  ii.  26.) ;  so  that  sc.xxiv. 
we  cannot  will  any  thing  but  what  he  wills.     For 
he  is  himself  that   strong-   man   armed,    who    so 
keepeth  his  palace  that  those  are  in  peace  whom 
he  possesses ;  lest  they  should  stir  up  any  com 
motion  or  thought  against  him.     Otherwise,  the 
kingdom  of  Satan,  being  divided  against  itself 
could  not  stand  ;  whereas  Christ  affirms  that  it  \ 
does  stand.     And  this  will  of  his  we  do  willingly  ( 
and  cordially,  agreeably  to  the  nature  of  our  will;; 
which,  if  it  were  compelled,  would  not  be  a  Will : 
for  compulsion  is,  if  I  may  so  speak,  more  pro-; 
perly  Non-will.*     But,  if  a  stronger  than  lie  come' 
upon  him,  and,  having  conquered  him,  carry  us/ 
off  as  a  spoil;  then,   again,  we  become  servants, 
and  captives  through  His  spirit  (which,  however, ) 
is  royal  liberty),  to  will  and  do  of  our  own  lust, 
just  what  He  himself  wills.    Thus,  the  human  will 
is  placed,  as  a  sort  of  packhorse,  in  the  midst  of 
two  contending  parties.     If  God  hath  mounted, 
it  wills  and  goes   whither  God  pleases;  as  the 
Psalmist   says,  u  I   am    become    as    a  beast   of 
burden,  and  I  am  ever  with  thee."y  (Psa.  Ixxiii. 
22,  23.)     If  Satan  hath  mounted,  it  wills  and  goes 
whither  Satan  wills.     Nor  is  it  in  its  own  choice, 
to  which  of  the  two  riders  it  shall  run,  or  to  seek 
its  rider;  but  the  riders  themselves  contend  for  the 
acquisition  and  possession  of  it.z 

Noluntas.']  'The  negation  of  will;'  a  state  supposed, 
vhich  is  inconsistent  with  the  very  existence  of  the  faculty  : 
'et  this  is  what  the  opponents  of  '  necessity '  would  charge  its 
issertors  with  maintaining  ;  instead  of  that  constrained  but 
reely-acted  obedience,  which  is  essential  to  the  reality  of  God's 
!>eing  God,  and  man  his  moral  creature. 

1  y  Our  authorized  version  gives  another  turn  to  this  passage, 
iy  dividing  the  verses  differently.  But  the  original  text  is, 
~  I  am  foolish,  and  I  did  not  know  that  I  was  behemoth  before 
hee  :  and  I  am  always  with  thee,  thou  holdest  in  thy  hand  my 
'•  'ight  hand." 

1  Luther  does  not  really  mean  what  his  words  might  seem  to 
uply,  that  God  and  Satan  are  co-equal  rivals  for  the  throne  of 


PART.  I. 
SC.  XXV. 

by  his  own 
sion  :  folly 
and  mad 
ness  of 


What  if  I  shall  have  proved  from  your  own 
words,  in  which  you  assert  Freewill,  that  there  is 
no  such  thing  as  Freewill ;  so  as  to  convict  you  of 
unwarily  denying  the  conclusion  which  you  endea 
vour,  with  so  much  wariness,  to  establish  ? 
Verily,  if  I  do  not  succeed  in  this,  I  swear  to  re 
voke  all  which  I  have  written  against  you,  from 
the  beginning  to  the  end  of  this  book;  and  to  con 
firm  all  which  vour  Diatribe  either  asserts  or 


brings  into  question  against  me.a 

You  represent  the  power  of  the  free  will  as 
something  very  diminutive,  and  what  is  altogether 
inefficacious  without  the  grace  of  God. 

Do  not  you  acknowledge  this  ?  I  ask  and  de 
mand,  then,  if  the  grace  of  God  be  .wanting,  or  be 

man's  will.  Hereafter,  it  will  be  found,  that  he  firmly  and  ex 
plicitly  maintains  the  universal  and  minute  sovereignty  of  God, 
as  the  doer  of  all  things.  His  object  here  is  to  shew  the 
governance  under  which  man's  will  is  ;  that  it  is  under  the 
power  and  control  of  the  devil,  unless  and  until  the  Holy 
Ghost  assume  the  empire  of  it :  when  it  is  still  a  subject, 
though  the  subject  of  another,  and  that  a  freedom-giving 
master. — The  truth,  however,  is,  that  God  has  never  given 
Freewill  (if  by  Freewill  is  meant  an  uncontrolled  will)  to  any  Man,  in  his  creation  state.,  had  the  power  of  choos 
ing,  and  refusing,  as  he  has  now  ;  and  the  difference  between 
his  then  state  and  his  now  state,  consisted  in  his  knowing  no 
thing  but  good  ;  and,  till  the  moment  of  trial,  having  no  temp 
tation  to  choose  any  thing  but  good.  When  that  temptation  was, 
for  the  first  time,  presented  to  him,  we  know  how  he  met  it  •  and 
the  result  was  a  corrupted  faculty,  which  Satan  rides  as  his 
packhorse.  But  both  his  seat  and  his  riding  are  of  the  gift, 
and  according  to  the  will,  of  God  ;  even  as  his  dispossession  is, 
when,  as  and  in  whom  God  wills  j  not  a  moment  sooner,  or 
later.  Yet  all  this  agency  of  God  in  no  Avise  contradicts  the 
reality  of  a  will  in  man  ;  God's  universal  and  minute  govern 
ment  consisting  in  his  setting,  or  rather  procuring  to  be  set, 
before  this  faculty,  such  considerations  as  shall  lead  the  free- 
agent  possessor  of  it  to  choose  just  what  God  would  have  him 

a  Contra  me  turn  assent,  turn  quceni."]  Much  of  Erasmus's 
argument  consisted  of  dubitative  remark ;  hinting  a  fault  or 
objection,  rather  than  boldly  stating  it ;  and  proposing  ques 
tions,  rather  than  affirming  certainties. 


separated   from   this    little  something  of  power;   sc.xxv. 
what  will  it  do  by  itself  ?b     It  is  inefficacious,  you 

,.—  „   «•  Hi          •  *      V  -*'    '"*'<L*        *    "*' J* '  7       mj 

say,  and  does  nothing  that  is  good.  Then  it  wrill 
not  do  what  God  or  his  grace  would  have  to  be 
done  (for  we  suppose  here,  that  the  grace  of  God 
is  in  a  state  of  separation  from  it),  and  what  the 
grace  of  God  doeth  not,  is  not  good.  It  follows, 
therefore,  that  the  free  will,c  without  the  grace  of 

9  -•    i,          -i-     i        -  __     — -      •      — ,       ^      — ir"1  i_ji— >_j -n_i         —i.i      CT        •—   f 

God>,ia-~aJj>SQlutely  not  free,  but  is  immutably  the 
captive  and  slave  of  evil ;  .since  it  cannot,  of  itseltj 
turn  to  good.  Let  but  this  be  allowed,  and  I  will 
give  you  leave  to  make  the  power  of  the  free  will 
not  only  that  small  something,  but  the  power  of 
an  angel ;  a  power,  if  you  can,  that  is  truly 
divine.  Still,  if  you  shall  add  this  unhappy  ap 
pendage,  that  it  is  inefficacious  without  the  grace 
of  God,  you  will  instantly  take  away  all  power 
from  it. — What  is  an  inefficacious  power,  but  no 
power  at  all  ? 

To  say,  then,  that  the  will  is  free,  and  has 
power,  but  that  its  power  is  inefficacious,  is  what 
the  Sophists  call  '  an  opposite  in  the  adjunct :' 
as  if  you  should  say,  the  will  is  free,  but  it  is  not 
free.  It  is  like  saying,  fire  is  cold,  and  earth  is 
hot.  Let  fire  possess  even  an  infernal  degree  of 
heat ;  if  it  be  neither  warm  nor  burn,  but  be  cold 
and  make  cold,  I  will  not  call  it  fire,  much  less 
hot — unless  you  choose  to  consider  it  as  a  paint 
ing  or  engraving  of  a  fire.  If,  however,  we  should 
declare  Freewill  to  be  that  power,  which  renders 

b  Quid  ipsa  faciet .]  This  question  is  no  less  than  the  death 
blow  to  Freewill,  how  modest  soever  may  be  the  pretensions 
made  for  her.  A  false  candour  and  a  ruinous  forbearance  say, 
why  attempt  to  separate  what  run  so  closely  and  so  harmo 
niously  together,  God's  grace  and  man's  exertion  ?  Goodwill 
to  man  and  zeal  for  God  demand  the  separation  :  thus  only  can 
man  be  made  to.  know  himself ;  thus  only  can  God's  proper 
praise  be  knowingly  and  unfeignedly  rendered  to  him. 

e  See  above,  Sect.  ix.  note  u.  Lib.  arb.  '  The  power  of  will 
ing/  thus  asserted  to  be  free.  Vis  lib.  arb.  '  The  power  of  this 
power,  &c.  &c.'  '  Freewill.' 


PART  I.  man  a  fit  substance  to  be  seized  by  the  Spirit  and 
imbued  with  the  grace  of  God,  as  a  being  created 
to  eternal  life,  or  eternal  death  ;  we  should  speak 
properly.  For  we  also  confess  this  power  (that 
is,  this  fitness)  in  the  will ;  or,  as  the  Sophists 
speak,  this  disposable  quality  and  passive  adapt- 
edness ;  which  everybody  knows  to  be  not  im 
planted  in  the  trees  and  in  the  beasts :  for  God 
hath  not  created  heaven  for  geese  and  ganders ; 
as  it  is  said.d 

It  stands  fixed,  even  by  your  own  testimony, 
therefore,  that  we  do  all  things  by  necessity,  and 
nothing  by  Freewill ;  so  long  as  the  power  of  the 
free  will  is  nothing,  and  neither  does  nor  can  do 
good,  in  the  absence  of  grace.  Unless  you,  by  a 
new  use  of  terms,  should  choose  to  mean  '  com 
pletion'  by  'efficacy;'  intimating,  that  Freewill 
can  begin  and  can  will  a  good  work,  though  not 
complete  it ;  which  I  do  not  believe.  But  more  of 
this  hereafter. 

It  follows,  from  what  has  been  said,  that  Jxee- 
vyill  is  a  title  which  belongs  altogether  to  God; 
and  cannot  join  with  any  other  being,  save,  the 
Divine  Majesty  only.  For  that  Divine  Majesty, 
as  the  Psalmist  sings,  can  and  does  effect  all  that 
He  wills  in  heaven  and  in  earth.  (Psa.  cxxxv.  6.) 
But  if  this  title  be  ascribed  to  men,  you  might  just 
as  well  ascribe  divinity  itself  to  them ;  a  sacrilege 
which  none  can  exceed.  So  that,  it  was  the  duty 
of  theologians  to  abstain  from  this  word,  when 

d  It  is  necessary  to  mark  with  precision  the  amount  of  this 
concession.  Man  has  a  rational  will,  (not  that  his  reason  is 
seated  in  his  will ;  it  is  a  distinct  faculty  ;  and  we  should  say 
more  correctly,  man  has  an  understanding  as  well  as  a  will) 
which  brutes  have  not ;  and  through  the  means  of  which  he 
may  become  the  subject  of  spiritual  influences.  There  is  a 
spirit  in  man  ;  and  this  spirit  may  be  renewed  and  invigorated 
by  the  Holy  Ghost,  so  as  to  discern  spiritual  objects,  and  to 
perform  spiritual  acts.  But  how  does  this  affect  the  reality  of 
the  natural  blindness  and  impotency  of  the  rational  will  ?  It 
presupposes  that  reality. 


they  would  speak  of  human  power,  and  to  leave  it  SC.  xxv. 
for  God  only;  and,  having  done  this,  to  remove  the  — — — 
same  from  out  of  the  mouth  and  discourse  of  men, 
claiming  it  as  a  sacred  and  venerable  title  for  their 
God.e     Nay,  if  they  must  by  all  means  ascribe 
some  power  to  man,  they  should  teach  that  it  be 
called  by  some  other  name  than  '  Free  will;'  espe 
cially,  when  as  we  all  see  and  know,  the  common 
people    are  miserably  seduced  and  beguiled  by 
this  term ;  hearing  in  it,   and  conceiving  from  it, 
a  something  very  far  different  from  what  theolo 
gians  entertain  in  their  minds,  and  affirm.     For 
t  Freewill '    is    too    magnificent,    extensive,   and 
copious  a  term;  by  which  the   common   people 
suppose  (as  both  the  force  and  the  nature  of  the 
word  require)  that  a  power  is  meant,  which  can 
turn  itself  freely  to  either  side,,  and  is  of  .such  ex 
tent  as  not  to  yield  or  be  subjected  to  any  one. 
Did  they   know   that  the  fact  is  otherwise,   and 
that  scarcely  a  very  small  particle  of  a  little  spark 
is  signified  by  it,  and  that  this  very  small  particle 
is  quite  inefficacious  by  itself;  nay,  the  captive 
and  slave  of  the  devil ;  it  would  be  strange  if  they 
did  not  stone  us,  as  mockers  and  deceivers,  for 
uttering  a  sound  so  very  far  different  from   our 
meaning  :  and  this  too,  when  it  is  not  even  a  settled 
and  agreed  thing  amongst  us  yet,  what  we  really 
do  mean!     For  "he  who  speaks  deceitfully,"  says 
the  wise  man,  "  is  detestable  ;"f  especially,  if  he 
do  so  in  matters  of  piety,  where  eternal  salvation 
is  at  stake. 

Seeing,  then,  that  we  have  lost  the  substance 

e  Nomen.']  He  does  not  mean  that  God  should  be  called  by 
this  name ;  but  that  it  is  a  property,  which  should  be  to  him 
as  a  name  ;  '  what  separates  the  individual,  in  the  recognition 
of  others,  from  all  that  resemble  him.' 

f  OdibilisJ]  I  do  not  find  any  words  like  these,  either  in  the 
Canonical  Scriptures,  or  in  the  Apocrypha.  Some  have  sup 
posed  Luther  to  refer  to  Eccle.  xxxvii.  3.  "  O  wicked  imagina 
tion,  whence  earnest  thou  in  to  cover  earth  with  deceit  ?" 


PART.  I.  which  is  expressed  by  so  glorious  a  name,  or 
"  rather  have  never  possessed  it  (the  Pelagians, 
indeed,  would  have  it  that  we  do ;  beguiled,  as 
you  are,  by  this  word) ;  why  do  we  so  obstinately 
retain  an  empty  name,  to  the  mocking  and  endan 
gering  of  the  common  people  which  believe  ? 

It  is  just  the  same  sort  of  wisdom,  as  that  by 
which  kings  and  princes  either  retain,  or  claim 
and  vaunt  themselves  to  possess,  empty  titles  of 
kingdoms  and  countries ;  when  they  are  almost 
beggars  all  the  while,  and  are  as  far  as  possible 
from  possessing  those  kingdoms  and  countries. 
This,  however,  is  a  folly  that  may  be  borne  ;  since 
they  neither  deceive  nor  beguile  any  one,  but  feed 
themselves  on  vanity,  to  no  profit  at  all.  But  in 
the  case  before  us,  the  soul-danger  and  the  de 
ception  are  most  injurious. 

Who  would  not  laugh  at,  or  rather  hate,  that 
unseasonable  innovator  in  the  use  of  words,  who, 
contrary  to  all  common  usage,  should  endeavour 
to  introduce  such  a  mode  of  speaking  as  to  call  a 
beggar  rich;  not  for  having  any  money  of  his 
own,  but  because  some  king  might  perchance  give 
him  his  ?  Especially,  if  he  should  do  this,  as 
though  he  were  in  earnest ;  without  any  figure  of 
speech,  such  as  antiphrasis  or  irony.  So,  if  he 
should  call  one  that  is  sick  unto  death  a  man  in 
perfect  health ;  because  some  other  person,  who  is 
in  health,  might  possibly  make  him  whole,  like  him 
self.  So,  if  he  should  call  a  most  illiterate  idiot  a 
very  learned  man;  because  some  other  person 
might  possibly  give  him  letters.  It  is  just  the  same 
sort  of  thing  which  is  said  here — '  man  has  Free 
will':  yes,  forsooth:  if  God  should  give  him  His. 
By  such  an  abuse  of  speech,  any  man  might  boast 
himself  of  any  thing :  as  for  instance,  that  he  is 
Lord  of  heaven  and  earth;  that  is,  if  God  would 
but  give  it  him.  Such,  however,  is  not  the  lan 
guage  of  theologians,  but  of  stage-players  and 


swaggerers.*    Our  words  ought  to  be  plain,  pure,  sc.xxv. 

and  sober :h  what  Paul   calls    "sound  and  irre • 

prehensible."  (Tit.  ii.  7,  8.) 

If,  then,  we  be  not  willing  to  give  up  the  term 
altogether,  which  would  be  the  safest  expedient, 
and  most  consistent  with  piety ;  still,  let  us  teach 
men  to  keep  good  faith  in  using  it  only  within 
certain  limits ;  by  which  Freewill  shall  be  con 
ceded  to  man,  only  with  respect  to  such  sub 
stances  as  are  inferior  to  himself,  and  not  to  those 
which  are  his  superiors.  In  other  words,  let  him 
know  that  he  has,  with  regard  to  his  faculties  and 
possessions,  a  right  of  using  them — of  doing,  and 
of  forbearing  to  do — according  to  his  own  free 
will ;  although  this  very  right  be  also  controlled 
by  God's  alone  free  will,  wheresoever  he  sees  fit 
to  interpose.  But  in  his  actings  towards  God,  in 
things  pertaining  to  salvation  or  damnation,  he 
has  no  free  will,  but  is  the  captive,  the  subject, 
and  the  servant,  either  of  the  will  of  God,  or  of 
the  will  of  Satan.1 

«  Quadniplator:im.~\  This  name  was  applied,  under  the  Roman 
law,  to  '  public  informers,'  who  gained  a  fourth  part  of  the 
accused's  goods,  or  of  the  fine  imposed  upon  him  :  or,  as  others 
say,  because  they  accused  persons,  who,  upon  conviction, 
used  to  be  condemned  to  pay  fourfold;  as  those  guilty  of  ille 
gal  usury,  gaming,  or  the  like.  But  chiefly  mercenary  and 
false  accusers,  or  litigants,  were  called  by  this  name  ;  and  also 
those  judges  who,  making  themselves  parties  in  a  cause,  de 
cided  in  their  own  favour.  Seneca  calls  those  who,  for  small 
services,  sought  great  returns,  '  quadruplatores  beneficiorum 
suorum;'  as  overrating  and  exaggerating  them. — Luther, 
however,  may  possibly  have  no  allusion  to  these  customs,  but 
use  the  term,  according  to  its  essential  meaning,  for  '  a  bouncer* 
or  '  exaggerator  ;'  insinuating,  that  Erasmus's  statements  were 
of  this  kind.  But  his  uniting  it  with  Histrionum  leads  us 
rather  to  some  notorious  class,  or  community  of  persons. 

h  Propria,  pura,  sobria.]  Prop.  '  plain,'  as  opposed  to|'  figu 
rative  ;'  pur.  '  simple,'  as  opposed  to  '  ornamented  ;'  sobr.  'tem 
perate,'  as  opposed  to  '  extravagant.' 

1  Luther's  distinction  here  is  neither  profitable,  nor  just, 
nor  safe  :  unprofitable,  because  the  amount  of  the  exception  is 
small,  and  hard  to  be  defined  ;  unjust,  because  God  does,  in 
fact,  interpose  always — "  He  worketh  all  things  after  the  coun- 


PART  i.        I  have  said  thus  much  on  the  chapters  of  your 
Preface,  which  even  in  themselves  contain  almost 


the  whole  of  our  matter  ;  more  of  it,  I  might  say, 
Luther  "  than  the  body  of  the  book  which  follows.  But  the 
concludes  sum  of  these  is  what  might  be  dispatched  by  this 
h's  review  short  dilemma.  Your  preface  complains  either  of 
mus'sPre-  the  words  of  God,  or  of  the  words  of  man :  if,  of  the 
face, byre-  words  of  man,  it  is  all  written  in  vain,  and  I  have 
to"dfiem-  no  concern  with  it;  if,  of  the  words  of  God,  it  is 
ma,  and  altogether  profane.  So  that,  it  would  have  been 
shor^work  more  profitable  to  make  this  our  question  ;  are  the 
of  some  of  words,  about  which  we  dispute,  God's  words  or 
his  sharp  man»s  words  ?  But,  perhaps  the  Proem  which 
follows,  and  the  disputation  itself,  will  discuss  this 

What  you  repeat  in  the  conclusion  of  your 
preface,  does  not  at  all  disturb  me :  as  *  that  you 
should  call  my  dogmas  fables,  and  useless ;'  '  that 
you  should  say,  that  we  ought  rather,  after  the 
example  of  Paul,  to  preach  Christ  crucified ;'  '  that 
wisdom  must  be  taught  amongst  them  that  are  per 
fect;'  '  that  Scripture  has  its  language  variously 
attempered  to  the  state  of  the  hearers ;'  which 
makes  you  think,  that  it  is  left  to  the  prudence 
and  charity  of  the  teacher,  to  preach  what  he  may 
deem  suitable  to  his  neighbour. 

All  this  is  absurdity  and  ignorance ;  I  also 
preach  nothing  but  Jesus  crucified  :  but  "  Christ 
crucified"  brings  all  these  things  along  with  it; 
and  brings,  moreover,  that  very  wisdom  amongst 
them  that  are  perfect :  since  there  is  no  other  wis 
dom  to  be  taught  amongst  Christians,  than  that 
wrhich  is  hidden  in  a  mystery  and  belongs  to  the 

sel  of  his  own  will."  "  Not  a  sparrow  falleth  to  the  ground 
without  your  Father ;"  "  He  is  all  (things)  in  all  (things)." 
Unsafe ;  because,  if  Freewill  be  admitted  any  where,  why  not 
every  where  ?  who  will  yield  to  our  authority,  when  we  say, 
'  it  is  here,  but  it  is  not  there?'  The  truth  is,  man., is  ajjree- 
agent,  though  not  n.  free-wilier ,  in  spiritual  things  ;  no 
more  in  temporal  things,  and  in  his  dealings  with,  the  inferior 
creatures.  (See  Sect.  xxiv.  note  z.) 


perfect;  not  to  children/  of  a  Jewish  and  legal  SC-XXVI- 
people,  which  glory  in  works  without  faith.  This 
is  Paul's  meaning  in  1  Cor.  ii.  unless  you  would 
have  '  the  preaching  of  Christ  crucified'  to  mean 
no  more  than  the  sounding  out  of  these  letters, 
f  Christ  was  crucified/ 

As  to  those  expressions,  6  God  is  angry/ 
(  hath  fury/  f  hateth/  '  grieveth/  '  pitieth/  '  re- 
penteth/  when  we  know  that  none  of  these  things 
happeneth  to  God ; 

You  are  looking  for  a  knot  in  a  bulrush.1  These 
expressions  do  not  make  Scripture  obscure,  or 
such  as  must  be  modulated  according  to  the 
varieties  of  the  hearer;  except  that  some  people 
are  fond  of  making  obscurities  where  there  are 
none.  These  are  matters  of  grammar :  the  sen 
timent  is  expressed  in  figurative  words;  but 
those,  such  as  even  schoolboys  understand.  How 
ever,  we  are  talking  about  doctrines,  not  about 
figures  of  speech,  in  this  cause  of  ours. 

k  Pueros.~\  Piter,  opposed  to  perfectos ;  tv  TO??  Te\e/o<s'  The 
men  '  of  full  age',  opposed  to  babes.  (1  Cor.  ii.  6.) 

1  Nodus  in  scirpo  quceritur.']  A  proverb  for  stumbling  upon 
plain  ground. 






Canonical  Scriptures  to  be  the  standard  of  appeal.     Human  autho 
rity  all  against  Luther — admitted — but  depreciated. 

]STow,  therefore,  when  about  to  enter  upon  your 
disputation,  you  promise  to  plead  the  Canonical 
Scriptures  only,  since  Luther  does  not  hold  himself 
bound  by  the  authority  of  any  other  writer. 

I  am  satisfied,  and  accept  your  promise  :  albeit, 
you  do  not  make  this  promise  on  the  ground  of 
judging  those  other  writers  unprofitable  to  the 
cause,  but  to  spare  yourself  useless  labour;  for 
you  do  not  quite  approve  this  audacity  of  mine, 
or  whatever  else  the  principle,  by  which  I  regulate 
myself  in  this  instance,  must  be  called. 

You  are  not  a  little  moved,  forsooth,  by  so  nu 
merous  a  series  of  the  most  learned  men,  who 
have  been  approved  by  the  common  consent  of  so 
many  ages  :  amongst  whom,  are  to  be  found  men 
of  the  greatest  skill  in  sacred  literature,  some  of 
the  most  holy  of  our  Martyrs,  and  many  celebrated 
for  their  miracles.  Add  to  these  a  number  of 
more  modern  theologians ;  so  many  Universities, 
Councils,  Bishops,  Pontiffs.  In  short,  on  the  one 
side  stands  erudition,  genius,  numbers,  grandeur, 
high  rank,  fortitude,  sanctification,  miracles,  and 
what  not  ?  But  on  my  side,  only  Wickliff  and  one 
other,  Laurentius  Valla  (howbeit  Augustine  also, 
whom  you  pass  over,  is  altogether  with  me);  whose 
weight  is  nothing,  in  comparison  with  the  former. 


There  remains  none  but  Luther — a  private  man,    SECT.  I. 

a  man  of  yesterday — and  his  friends :  who  have  

neither  so  much  learning,  nor  so  much  genius ;  no 
numbers,  no  grandeur,  no  sanctification,  no  mira 
cles — they  cannot  even  heal  a  lame  horse.  They 
make  a  parade  of  Scripture;  which  they  never 
theless  consider  to  be  equivocal,a  as  well  as  the 
opposite  party.  They  boast  of  the  Spirit  also ; 
but  they  give  no  signs  of  possessing  it. — And  a 
great  many  other  particulars ;  which  you  could  spe 
cify,  if  you  pleased.b — There  is  nothing  on  our 
side,  therefore,  but  what  the  wolf  acknowledged 
in  the  devoured  nightingale ;  6  You  are  a  voice,' 
said  he,  '  and  nothing  else.'  '  They  talk/  you 
say;  e  and,  for  this  only,  expect  to  be  believed.' 

I  confess,  my  Erasmus,  that  you  are  not  with 
out  good  reason  moved  by  all  these  things.  I 
was  so  much  affected  by  them  myself  for  more 
than  ten  years,  that  I  think  no  other  person  was 
ever  equally  harassed  by  such  conflicts :  and  it 
was  utterly  incredible  to  me,  that  this  Troy  of 
mine,  which,  for  so  long  a  time,  and  during  so 
many  wars,  had  proved  itself  to  be  invincible, 
could  ever  be  taken.  Nay,  I  call  God  for  a  re 
cord  upon  my  soul,  that  I  should  have  continued 
in  my  opinion,  and  should,  to  this  day,  be  still 
impressed  with  the  same  feelings,  if  it  were  not 
that  the  goadings  of  my  own  conscience,  and 
the  evidence  of  facts,  constrain  me  to  judge  dif 
ferently.  You  can  have  no  difficulty  in  conceiving, 
that,  although  my  heart  be  not  a  heart  of  stone, 
pet  if  it  were  one,  it  might  have  melted  in  the 
struggle  and  collision  with  such  waves  and  tides 
is  1  brought  upon  myself,  by  daring  to  do  an  act, 

a  Quam  tamen  dubiam  habent.']  The  pretended  ambiguity  of 
'Cripture  is  a  point  on  which  Erasmus  laid  great  stress,  and 
/hich  Luther,  hereafter,  most  powerfully  and  satisfactorily 

b  A  vaunting  insinuation  expressed  in  the  words  of  yEneas 
/F,n.  iv.  333,  334)  ;  by  which  Erasmus  would  lead  his  reader 
J  understand,  that  he  had  a  great  deal  still  behind. 


PART  ii.  which  would,  as  I  perceived,  cause  all  the  autho 
rity  of  these  persons  whom  you  have  recounted, 
to  come  down,  with  all  the  violence  of  a  deluge, 
upon  my  own  head.0 

But  this  is  not  the  place  for  me  to  construct  a 
history  of  my  life,  or  of  my  works  ;  nor  have  I  taken 
this  book  in  hand  with  the  design  of  commending 
myself,  but  that  I  might  extol  the  grace  of  God. 
What  sort  of  a  man  I  am,  and  with  what  spirit 
and  design  I  have  been  hurried  into  these  trans 
actions,  I  commit d  to  that  Being,  who  knows  that 
all  these  things  have  been  effected,  not  by  my  own 
Freewill,  but  by  His :  howbeit,  even  the  world 
itself  ought  to  have  become  sensible  of  this,  long 
ago.     It  is  evidently  a  very   invidious   situation 
into   which  you  throw  me,  by  this   exordium  of 
yours  :  from  which  it  is  not  easy  for  me  to  extri 
cate  myself,  without  trumpeting  my  own  praises, 
and  censuring  so  many  of  the  Fathers.  But  I  sha 
be  short.     In  erudition,  genius,  numbers,  autho 
rity,  and  every  thing  else,  I  allow  the  cause  to  b 
tried   at  your  judgment-seat,   and   acknowledg 
myself  the  inferior.0 

c  Luther  claims  respect,  here,  for  three  properties  of  h 
mind  and  conduct ;  conscientiousness,  scrupulous  investiga 
tion  of  truth,  and  full  consciousnesss  of  the  evil  he  was  encoun 
tering.  Not  only  was  his  light  poured  in  very  gradually,  an 
admitted  very  cautiously,  but,  from  first  to  last,  he  would  hav 
been  often  glad  to  hold  his  tongue.  When  he  spoke,  or  wrote 
it  was  because  God's  word  was  in  his  heart  as  a  burning  fir 
shut  up  in  his  bones,  and  he  was  weary  with  forbearing,  an 
could  not  stay.  (Jer.  xx.  9.) 

d  Commtndo.~]  Properly,  to  c  commit  as  a  deposit  into  th 
hands  of  a  trustee.'  I  leave  my  character  and  my  conduct,  i 
these  particulars,  with  my  God. 

e  Luther  considers  himself  as  arrayed,  in  opposition  to  th 
Fathers,  before  the  judgment-seat  of  Erasmus.  His  defenc 
must  consist  of  self-praise  and  abuse  of  the  Fathers.  He  de 
clines  making  such  a  defence,  and  cuts  the  matter  short  b 
acknowledging  his  inferiority  ;  and,  that  in  all  the  points  o 
competition  which  Erasmus  had  introduced. — Dr.  Milne 
understands  him  to  reserve  three  ;  viz.  the  Spirit,  miracles 
sanctification.  But  this  does  not  appear  to  be  the  fair  con 
struction  and  import  of  the  original  text.  If  I  collect  th 


But  if  I  should  turn  round  upon  my  judge,  and    SECT.  i. 

propose   these   three   questions  to    you,   what  is  

the  manifestation  of  the  Spirit?  what  are  Mira 
cles?  what  is  Sanctification  ? f  you  would  be 

sense  aright,  he  makes  two  concessions  :  etlam  tc  judice ;  '  I 
will  allow  the  cause  to  be  tried  even  at  your  judgment-seat ;' 
omnibus  aliis  ;  '  I  reserve  not  a  single  point  of  superiority  for 
myself.'  (Did  Luther  indeed  mean  to  contest  the  palm  on  any 
of  these  three  grounds  of  excellency  r) — But  then  he  abates  the 
force  of  his  concessions,  by  remarking,  with  respect  to  those 
three  distinctions  which  alone  are  of  any  value  in  the  number 
and  variety  claimed  for  his  adversaries,  that,  in  the  first  place, 
Erasmus  could  not  define  them  ;  and,  in  the  next,  he  could  not 
prove  concerning  any  individual  of  his  vaunted  host,  that  he 
possessed  them.  (See  Miln.  Ecclesi.  Hist.  vol.  iv.  part  ii. 
p.  863.) 

It  may  be  well,  just  to  notice  the  order,  in  which  Luther 
hence  proceeds,  in  his  animadversions  upon  Erasmus's  Proem. 

1.  You   cannot  prove  that  they  possessed  these  properties. 

2.  If  they  had  them,  they  did  not  come  at  them  by  Freewill. 

3.  Show  ye  the  same.    4.  At  least  define  the  power.   5.  How  ab 
surd  your  conduct  with  respect  to  the  Fathers.    G.  Some  desul 
tory   objections — such   as,    '  strange    that   God    should    have 
tolerated  such  errors  in  his  church  :    '  Scripture  is  not  clear' — 
met  and  repelled.     7.  Erasmus  reduced  to  a  dilemma. 

1  By  '  manifestation  of  the  Spirit,'  Luther  (Avith  reference  to 
Erasmus's  taunt,  '  quern  nusquam  ostendunt ')  means,  '  how 
men  are  to  prove  that  they  have  the  Spirit  dwelling  and  walk 
ing  in  them.'  By  '  miracles',  how  the  reality  or  falsehood  of 
affirmed  miracles  is  to  be  proved.  By  '  sanctification',  the 
state  of  a  saint  ;  that  is,  of  one  effectually  called  by  the  Holy 
Ghost :  this  effectual  calling,  or  separation  of  the  Spirit,  being  that 
act  by  which  the  eternally  separated  of  the  Father  (Jude  ver.  1.) 
are  drawn  into  a  realized  and  recognised  union  with  the  sepa 
rated  one,  even  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ ;  in  whom  (Heb.  ii.  11.), 
according  to  eternal  purpose  and  covenant,  they  are  separated  to 
God.  So  that  '  separation  from  and  unto'  constitutes  the  essence 
of  sanctification  ;  into  which  the  Scripture  use  of  the  term  is 
every  where  resolvable  :  not  a  gradual  work,  the  result  of 
repeated  actions  of  the  Spirit  upon  the  substance  of  the  natural 
soul,  as  human  authors  fondly  teach ;  but  one  complete  and 
final  operation,  by  which  the  natural  soul  (Y^x1/)  is  made  a 
spiritual  soul  (TTVCU/J.U)  ;  as  holy,  with  respect  to  its  own  sub 
stance,  as  it  ever  will  be  in  eternity.  (See  1  Pet.  i.  2,  22,  23. 
2  Thess.  ii.  13.  John  vi.  37,  44,  63,  64.  See  also  the  K\IJTO^ 
ofy/otv,  '  called  to  be  saints,'  of  the  epistolary  inscriptions.) 
Luther  very  properly  distinguishes  this  '  sanctimonia,'  '  sanc 
tum  esse  vel  fuisse',  from  the  '  haberc  spiritual;'  that  is,  from 
the  presence  of  the  Holy  Ghost  with,  and  his  consequent  actings 
in  and  by,  the  renewed  Spirit. 





The  excel 
lencies  of 
the  Fa 
thers  were 
not  of,  or 
for  Free 


found  too  inexpert  and  too  ignorant  (so  far  as  I 
know  you  from  your  letters  and  from  your  books) 
to  answer  me  one  syllable.  Or,  if  I  should 
go  on,  and  demand  of  you,  which  of  all  these 
heroes,  of  whom  you  make  your  boast,  you  could 
certainly  show  to  have  been,  or  to  be  sanctified, 
or  to  have  had  the  Spirit,  or  to  have  displayed 
real  miracles ;  my  conviction  is,  that  you  would 
have  to  work  very  hard,  and  all  in  vain.g  Much 
that  you  say  is  borrowed  from  common  use  and 
public  discourse  ; h  which  loses  more  than  you  sup 
pose  of  its  credit  and  authority,  when  summoned  to 
the  bar  of  conscience.  True  is  the  proverb,  e  Many 
pass  for  saints  on  earth,  whose  souls  are  in  hell/ 

But  let  us  grant  you,  if  you  please,  that  even 
all  of  them  were  sanctified,  had  the  Spirit,  and 
wrought  miracles  (a  concession  which  you  do  not 
ask) ;  tell  me,  was  any  one  of  them  sanctified,  did 
any  one  of  them  receive  the  Spirit  and  work  mira 
cles,  in  the  name  or  by  the  power  of  Freewill;  or, 
to  confirm  the  doctrine  of  Freewill  ?  God  forbid, 
you  will  say :  all  these  things  were  done  in  the 
name  and  by  the  power  of  Jesus  Christ ;  and  in 
support  of  the  doctrine  of  Christ.  Why,  then, 
do  you  adduce  their  sanctification,  their  having 
the  Spirit,  and  their  miracles,  in  support  of  the 
doctrine  of  Freewill ;  for  which  they  were  not 
given  and  wrought?  Their  miracles,  therefore, 
their  having  the  Spirit,  and  their  sanctification, 
are  all  ours ;  who  preach  Jesus  Christ,  in  oppo 
sition  to  the  powers  and  works  of  men.  Now, 
what  wonder  is  it,  if  those  men  (holy,  spiritual, 
and  workers  of  miracles  as  they  were)  being 
every  now  and  then  forestalled  by  the  flesh,  have 
spoken  and  have  acted,  according  to  the  flesh? 
what  happened  more  than  once  to  the  Apostles 

B  Multum  sed  frustru  sudatorum .]  Horace's  (  sudet  multfrm 
frustraque  laboret :'  implying  great  and  inefficacious  toil. 

h  Ex  usu  et  piiblids  sermonibus.']  Us.  'men's  saying  what  is 
usually  said,  what  others  say.'  Publ.  senn.  '  what  men  talk  in 
public  ;'  contrasted  with  private  meditation  and  the  secret 
testimony  of  their  own  hearts. 


themselves,  when  living-  under  the  immediate  eye  SECT,  in- 

of  Christ.    For  you  do  not  deny,  but  even  assert,  • 

that  Freewill  is  not  a  matter  of  the  Spirit,  or  of 
Christ,  but  a  mere  human  affair;  so  that  the  Spirit, 
which  was  promised,  that  he  might  glorify  Christ, 
cannot  possibly  preach  Freewill.  If,  therefore,  the 
Fathers  have  sometimes  preached  Freewill;  as 
suredly  they  have  spoken  by  the  flesh,  as  men,  and 
not  by  the  Spirit  of  God:  much  less  have  they 
wrought  miracles,  that  they  might  support  it.  So 
that  your  allegation  respecting  the  Fathers,  as 
having  been  sanctified,  had  the  Spirit,  and  wrought 
miracles,  is  inapplicable :  since  it  is  not  Freewill, 
but  the  dogma  of  Jesus  Christ1  as  opposed  to  that 
of  Freewill,  which  is  proved  thereby. 

But  come  now,  ye  that  are  on  the  side  of  Free-  Luther 
will,  and  assert  that  a  dogma  of  this  sort  is  true ;  jj^11^ ges 
that  is,  has  come  from  the  Spirit  of  God ;  still,  shew  ef- 
still  I  say,  manifest  the  Spirit,  publish  your  mira-  £ctsof,, 

-,.    Ji  ,.,.1       ,.  .  ji  Freevvill,m 

cles,  display  your  sanctincation.     Assuredly  you,  the  three 

who  assert,  owe  these  things  to  us   who   deny,  particular 

The  Spirit,  sanctification,  miracles,  ought  not  to  ci^TwiUch 

be  demanded  of  us  who  deny ;  of  you  who  assert,  he  has  se- 

they  ought.     Since  a  negative  advances  nothing,  lefc'ed  out 

J     ,  P  ,  .  &>   of  Eras- 

IS  nothing,  is  not  bound  to  prove  any  thing,  nor  mus'scata- 

ought  to  be  proved  itself.  An  affirmative  ought  losue- 
to  be  proved.  You  affirm  the  power  of  Freewill ; 
a  human  substance.  But  no  miracle  has  ever  yet 
been  seen,  or  heard  of,  as  performed  by  God,  for 
any  dogma  in  support  of  a  human  thing;  but  only 
for  one  in  support  of  a  divine  thing.  We  have  it 
in  charge  to  receive  no  dogma  whatsoever,  which 
has  not  been  first  proved  by  divine  attestations. 
(Deut.  xviii.  15 — 22.)  Moreover,  the  Scripture  calls 
man  vanity  and  a  lie  ;k  which  is  in  effect  saying, 

1  Jesu  Christi  dogma.']  Not  '  a  dogma  taught  by  Jesus 
Christ;'  but  a  '  dogma  of  which  He  is  the  subject:'  'the 
truth  as  it  is  in  Jesus  ;'  which  is  directly  opposite  to  this  fancy 
of  Freewill. 

k  Ps.  xxxix.  5.  Ixii.  9. 



PART  ii.  tliat  all  human  things  are  vanities  and  lies.  Come 
then ;  come,,  I  say,  and  prove  your  dogma  in  sup 
port  of  a  human  vanity  and  lie,,  to  be  true. 
Where  is  now  your  manifestation  of  the  Spirit  ? 
where,  your  sanctification  ?  where,  your  mira 
cles  ? — I  see  talents,  erudition,  and  authority — 
but  God  hath  given  these  to  the  Gentiles  also. 

And  yet,  it  is  not  great  miracles  to  which  we 
will  compel  you;  such  as  that  of  healing  a  lame 
horse;1  lest  you  should  complain  of  a  carnal  age  :m 
howbeit,  God  is  wont  to  confirm  his  doctrines  by 
miracles,  without  any  regard  to  the  carnality  of  the 
age.  He  is  not  moved  by  the  merits  or  demerits 
of  a  carnal  age,  but  by  mere  pity  and  grace;  and 
by  a  love  of  establishing  souls  in  solid  truth,  unto 
His  glory.n  You  are  at  liberty  to  work  a  miracle 
as  small  as  you  please.  Nay,  by  way  of  pro 
voking  your  Baal  to  exertion,  I  jeer  you;  and 
challenge  you  to  create  even  a  single  frog,  in  the 
name  and  by  the  power  of  Freewill :  of  which 
the  impious  Gentile  magicians  in  Egypt  were 
enabled  to  create  many.  For  I  will  not  put  you 
to  the  trouble  of  creating  lice ;  which  they  also 
were  not  able  to  bring  forth.  1  will  set  you  a  still 
lighter  task :  take  but  a  single  gnat  or  louse  (since 
you  tempt  and  mock  my  God  Avith  your  fleer  about 
healing  a  lame  horse) ;  and  if,  with  the  whole 
united  force,  and  the  whole  conspiring  efforts,  both 
of  your  God  and  of  yourselves,  you  shall  be  able 
to  kill  him — in  the  name  and  by  the  power  of  Free 
will — you  shall  be  proclaimed  conquerors ;  and  it 

1  Equum  claudum  sanareJ]  Erasmus's  burlesque  illustration 
of  their  want  of  miracles.  Luther  plays  with  it  :  '  we  will  not 
call  you  to  practise  upon  so  huge  an  animal  as  an  horse ;  we 
will  be  content  with  something;  less.' 

171  Alluding-  to  the  Lord's,  "  a  wicked  and  adulterous  genera 
tion  seeketh  after  a  sign."  Matt.  xvi.  4.    xii.  39. 

n  Luther  confines  the  design  of  God  in  his  miracles  to  the 
gracious  object  of  them :  but  does  not  God  also  design,  by 
these  seals  set  upon  his  truth,  to  convict  and  render  inexcusa 
ble  the  reprobate  and  ungodly  ? 


shall  be  admitted  that  you  have  maintained  your  SECT.III. 

cause,  and  we  will  come  presently  and  adore  this  

God  of  yours — the  marvellous  slayer  of  a  louse  ! 
Not  that  I  deny  your  having  the  power  even  to 
remove  mountains :  but  because  it  is  one  thing  to 
have  it  asserted,  that  some  act  has  been  per 
formed  by  the  power  of  Freewill ;  and  another,  to 
have  it  proved. 

What  I  have  said  of  miracles,  I  say  also  of 
sanctification.  If,  in  so  great  a  series  of  ages  and 
of  men,  and  of  all  things  which  you  have  named, 
you  shall  be  able  to  show  a  single  work  (let  it  be 
but  the  lifting  up  of  a  straw  from  the  ground) ;  or  a 
single  word  (let  it  be  but  the  syllable  ' my");  or  a 
single  thought  (let  it  be  but  the  feeblest  sigh) — 
proceeding  from  Freewill — by  which  they  have 
either  applied  themselves  to  grace,  or  earned  the 
Spirit,  or  obtained  pardon  of  sin,  or  have  nego- 
ciated  any  thing  (let  it  be  as  diminutive  as  you 
please — we  will  not  talk  about  their  sanctification) 
with  God;  be  ye  again  the  victors,  and  we  the  van 
quished  !  But  then  it  must  be  through  the  power 
and  in  the  name  of  Freewill !  For,  as  to  what 
is  done  in  men  through  the  power  of  a  divine 
creation,  it  has  Scripture  testimonies  in  abun 
dance.  You  certainly  ought  to  exhibit  some  work 
of  this  kind,  if  you  would  not  make  yourselves 
ridiculous  teachers,  by  spreading  dogmas  through 
out  the  world,  with  all  this  superciliousness  and 
authority,  about  a  thing  of  which  you  produce  no 
record.  For  those  shall  be  called  dreams,  which 
produce  no  result  whatsoever  (the  most  disgrace 
ful  thing  imaginable)  to  persons  of  so  great  con 
sequence,  living  through  such  a  series  of  ages, 
men  of  the  greatest  erudition  and  sanctity,  who 
have  also  the  power  of  working  miracles.  The 
issue  will  be,  that  we  prefer  the  Stoics  before  you; 
N  ho,  although  they  too  described  a  wise  man  such 
as  they  never  saw,  still  endeavoured  to  exhibit  the 
likeness  of  some  part  of  him  in  their  own  character. 


PART  ii.  But  you   have  absolutely  nothing  to    show;  not 

-  even  the  shadow  of  your  dogma. 

So  again,  with  respect  to  the  Spirit:  if,  out  of 
all  the  assertors  of  Freewill,,  you  can  show  me  one, 
who  hath  possessed  even  so  small  a  degree  of 
strength  of  mind,  or  of  good  feeling,  as  might 
enable  him  to  despise  a  single  farthing,  to  forego 
a  single  cast  of  the  die,  or  to  forgive  a  single  word 
or  letter  of  injury  (I  will  not  talk  of  despising 
wealth,  life,  and  fame),  in  the  name  and  through 
the  power  of  Freewill  ;  take  the  palm  again,  and 
I  will  be  content  to  be  sold  as  your  captive.0  You 
ought  at  least  to  show  us  this,  after  all  your  big 
swelling  words  p  in  boast  of  Freewill;  else,  you 
will  again  seem  to  be  either  wrangling  about 
goats*  wool,  or,  like  the  noble  Argian,  seeing 
plays  in  an  empty  theatre.  q 

SECT  iv.  But,  in  contradiction  to  your  statement,  I  shall 
easily  shew  you  that  holy  men,  such  as  you  vaunt 
y°urself  to  possess,  as  often  as  they  come  to  pray 
or  plead  with  God,  approach  him  in  an  utter  for- 

Freewiii,     getfulness  of  their  own  Freewill;   despairing  of 

0  Sub  liastam  libenter  il)imus.~\     The  custom  of  selling  under 
the  spear  was  derived  from  the  sales   of  booty  taken  in  war  ; 
in  which  the  spear  wa?  set  up,  and  the  spoil  sold  under  it,  to 
denote  whence  the  property  had  been  obtained.     So  constant, 
however,  was  the  use  of  the  spear  in  auctions,  that  '  hasta'  is 
sometimes  put  absolutely  for    the  auction  itself;    and    '  sub 
hasta  venire'  corresponds  to  our  '  coming  under  the  hammer.' 
Luther  applies  it  here,  in  agreement  with   its  original    use  ; 
'  he  will  freely  come  to  the  spear,  that  he  may  be  sold  as  a 
part  of  Erasmus's  spoil.' 

P  Buccd  verborum."]  '  The  puffed  or  distended  cheek'  is  used 
to  express  '  anger,'  '  pride,'  or  '  boastfulness-'  Horace  has 
'  iratus  buccas  inflet  ;'  Persius,  '  scloppo  tumidas  intendis  rum- 
pere  buccas.' 

1  Land  caprind,   vacua  theafro.']  The  first  allusion  (Hor.  1. 
Epist.   xviii.   15.)    charges    him    with    'contentious    trifling;' 
like  the  man  who  quarrels  with  his  friend  about    goats'   hair, 
whether   it   should  be   called  wool  or  bristles;   '  fighting  for 
straws  •'     the  second  —  '  fuit   haud   ignobilis  Argis'  —  (Hor.  2. 
Epist.  ii.  128  —  130,  &c.)  with  indulging  '  a  harmless  but  disor 
dered  fancy.'  —  If  you  cannot  show  us  any  moral  effects  produced 
by  it,  Freewill  must  be  either  a  thing  of  no  value,  or  an  illusion. 


themselves,  and  imploring  nothing  but  pure  grace  SECT.V. 

only;  which  they  acknowledge  to  be  far  removed  

from  their  own  deservings.  Such  a  man  does  however 
Augustine  frequently  prove  himself  to  have  been ;  disunite 
such  did  Bernard,  when,  in  his  dying-hour,  he  about  it. 
said,  ( I  have  lost  my  time,  for  I  have  lived  abo 
minably/"  I  do  not  see  any  power  which  applies 
itself  for  grace  alleged  in  these  expressions,  but 
all  the  power  which  a  man  has,  accused  of  abso 
lutely  turning  away  from  it.8  And  yet,  these  self 
same  holy  men  sometimes  spoke  a  different  lan 
guage  about  Freewill,  in  their  disputations.  Just 
what  happens,  as  I  perceive,  to  all  mankind  :  they 
are  one  sort  of  people,  whilst  intent  upon  words 
and  reasonings;  and  another,  when  feeling  and 
acting.  In  the  former  instance,  they  speak  a  lan 
guage  which  differs  from  their  previous  feelings ; 
in  the  latter,  their  feelings  contradict  their  pre 
vious  language.  But  men  are  to  be  measured  by 
their  feelings,  rather  than  their  discourse;  whether 
they  be  pious,  or  impious. 

"  But  we  give  you  still  more  :  we  do  not  demand  Luther  de- 
miracles,  the  Spirit,  sanctification ;  we  return  to  J^"^*n 
the   dogma    itself :    demanding    only,    that   you  Of  Free- 
shall  at  least   shew  us,  what  work,  what  word,  will ;  a  spa- 
what  thought,  this  power  of  the  free  will  stirs  up,  ofitspmrti, 
or  attempts  to  perform,  in  order  that  it  may  apply  powers, 
itself  to  grace.     It  is  not  enough  to  say,  '  there  is  JSfSdJ"' 
a  power/  ( there  is  a  power/    '  there  is  a  certain  dents. 
power,  I  say,  in  the  free  will ;'  for  what  is  easier 
than  to  say  this  ?  Nor  is  this  worthy  of  those  most 
learned  and  most  holy  men,  who  have  been  ap 
proved  by  so  many  ages.     (  The  babe  must  be 
named/  as  the  German  proverb  has  it.    You  must 
define  what  that  power  is,  what  it  does,  what  it  suf 
fers,  what  are  its  accidents.    For  example  ;  speak 
ing  as  one  most  dull  of  apprehension,  I  would  ask, 

r  Perditi.']  '  More  perditi  hominis  ;  flagitiose/  '  nequiter,  cor- 

8  Non  nisi  aversa  fuerit.~]  Opposed  to  '  ad  gratiam  sese  appli- 
cet  j'  aversation  and  disgust,  instead  of  desire  and  seeking. 


PART  ii.  is  it  the  office  of  this  power  either,  to  pray,  or  to 
fast,  or  to  labour,  or  to  keep  under  the  body,  or 
to  give  alms,  or  to  do  any  thing  else  of  this  kind, 
or  does  it  make  any  attempt  at  these  things  ?  If 
it  be  a  power,  it  will  be  trying  to  achieve  some 
thing.  But  here,  you  are  more  dumb  than  the 
Seriphian  frogs,  and  fishes.1 

And  how  is  it  possible  that  you  should  define 
it,  when,  according  to  your  own  testimony,  you 
are  still  uncertain  what  the  power  itself  is ;  at 
variance  with  each  other,  and  each  of  you  incon 
sistent  with  himself?  What  will  become  of  the 
definition,  when  the  thing  defined  means  one 
thing  in  one  place,  and  another  in  another? 

But  let  it  be  granted,  that,  since  the  time  of 
Plato,  there  has,  at  length,  been  some  sort  of 
agreement  amongst  you,  about  the  power  itself: 
let  it  further  be  defined,  as  its  office,  that  it  prays, 
or  fasts,  or  does  something  of  this  sort,  which  still, 
perhaps,  lies  concealed  in  the  maze  of  Plato's 
'  Ideas/11  Who  shall  assure  us,  that  the  dogma  is 
true,  that  it  is  well-pleasing  to  God,  and  that  we 
are  safe  in  maintaining  it?x  Especially,  when  you 
confess  yourselves  that  it  is  a  human  thing,  which 
has  not  the  testimony  of  the  Spirit;  for  that  it 

1  Seriphus  was  an  island  in  the  ^Egean  sea  ;  one  of  the  Spo- 
rades ;  where,  according  to  .Lilian,  the  frogs  never  croaked  ; 
but,  when  removed  to  another  place,  became  more  noisy  and 
clamorous  than  others.  The  latter  part  of  the  story.,  how 
ever,  is  differently  told,  and  in  a  manner  more  consistent  with 
the  proverb  ;  that  they  retained  their  dumbness,  when  trans 
ferred  and  mingled  with  others.  Hence  the  saying,  BaT/>ox»s 
CK  2f/>/0«,  for  a  silent  man,  who  can  neither  speak,  nor  sing. 

u  Platonis  IdeLs.]  A  term  used  by  Plato  to  denote  the  first 
forms  of  things  ;  the  sort  of  mental  draught,  according  to 
which  nature  (in  the  language  of  a  heathen  philosopher — and 
would  it  were  only  professed  heathens  who  speak  so  !)  has 
framed  all  her  substances.  '  Plato  ideas  vocat  ex  quibus  omnia 
quaecunque  videmus  fiunt,  et  ad  quas  omnia  formantur.' 

x  Nosque  tuto  rectum  agere,  i.  e.  in  rectum.]  More  literally, 
'  safe  in  going  straight  forwards.'  Quasi  '  in  rectum  agere 

"  Itcrque 
Non  agit  in  rectum." ..."  in  rectum  exire  catervas." 



was   bandied   by    the   philosophers,   and   had   a  SECT.V. 

being    in    the   world,    before    Christ   came,   and  

before  the  Spirit  was  sent  from  heaven.  Thus  it 
is  made  most  certain,  that  this  dogma  was  not 
sent  from  heaven,  but  had  been  born  long  before, 
out  of  the  earth :  so  that  a  great  deal  of  testimony 
is  necessary,  to  confirm  it  as  certain  and  true. 

Let  us,  then,  be  private  men  and  few,  whilst 
yon  are  even  publicans1'  and  a  multitude;  let  us 
be  barbarians,  and  you  most  learned  ;  let  us  be 
stupid,  and  you  most  ingenious  ;  us,  men  of  yes 
terday,  and  you  older  than  Deucalion ;  us,  men  of 
no  acceptance ;  you,  men  who  have  received  the 
approbation  of  ages;  us,  in  fine,  sinners,  carnal, 
sottish  ;z  you,  men  fitted  to  excite  fear  in  the  very 
devils,  by  your  sanctity,  the  Spirit  which  is  in  you, 
and  your  miracles.  Give  us,  at  least,  the  right  of 
Turks  and  Jews  ;  that  of  demanding  a  reason  for 
your  dogma,  agreeably  to  what  your  great  patron 
St.  Peter*  has  commanded  you.  We  ask  this, 
however,  with  the  greatest  modesty  ;  inasmuch 

y  PubUcani.~\  Not  without  meaning'  used  here  instead  of 
publici,  as  opposed  to  privati.  The  publicans  were  govern 
ment-officers,  employed  in  collecting  the  public  revenues  ; 
which  they  contracted  for  at  a  price,  and  lived  upon  the  pro 
duce.  They  were  chiefly  of  the  equestrian  order,  and  held  in 
honour.  '  Erant  publicani  equites  Romani,  qui  tributa  et  pub- 
lica  vectigalia  questus  sui  causa  conducebant.'  '  Publicani 
autem,  sunt,  qui  publico  fruuntur.'  '  Flos  equitum  Roma- 
norum,  ornamentum  civitatis,  firmamentum  reipub.  Publica- 
norum  ordine  continetur.' — Luther  uses  the  name,  if  I  under 
stand  him  aright,  equivocally.  Whilst  he  gives  them  the  glory 
of  publicity,  he  hints  at  their  support  being  derived  from  the 
focus,  and  the  infamous  celebrity  which  they  had  acquired  by 
their  exactions.  In  fact,  what  were  the  barefaced  traffickers 
in  Indulgences,  such  as  Tetzel  and  others,  but  publicans  of 
the  worst  stamp  ? — I  do  not  find  any  authority  for  the  word 
publicanus,  but  as  referred  to  this  office. 

z  Socordcs.~]  Quasi  sine  corde.  '  Not  only  sinful,  instead  of 
sanctified  ;  and  carnal,  instead  of  having  the  Spirit ;  but  abso 
lutely  without  natural  intellect  and  feeling. 

a  Referring  to  1  Pet.  iii.  15.  "  And  be  ready  always  to  give 
an  answer  to  every  man  that  asketh  you  a  reason  of  the  hope 
that  is  in  you,  with  meekness  and  fear."  Petrus  vester.  '  Your 
tutelar  saint  and  pretended  founder.' 


PART  ii.  as  we  do  not  demand  that  it  be  proved  to  us,  by 
sanctification,  by  the  Spirit.,  and  by  miracles.,  as  we 
might  do  according  to  your  own  law  ;  which  is,  to 
demand  these  things  of  others.  Nay,  we  even 
allow  you  not  to  give  us  any  instance  of  thought, 
word,  or  deed  in  your  dogma;  but  to  teach  us  the 
simple,  naked  proposition.  Declare  the  dogma 
itself,  at  least ;  what  you  wish  to  be  understood 
by  it ;  what  is  its  form.b 

If  you  will  not,  or  cannot  give  us  an  example 
of  it,  let  us  at  least  try  to  give  you  one.  Imitate 
the  Pope  and  his  cardinals  at  least,  who  say, 
'  Do  what  we  say,  but  do  not  according  to  our 
works/  Even  so,  do  ye  also  say  what  work  that 
power  requires  to  be  performed  by  its  subjects, 
and  we  will  apply  ourselves  to  it ;  leaving  you  to 
yourselves.  What!  shall  we  not  even  gain  this  from 
you  ?  The  more  you  exceed  us  in  numbers,  the 
more  ancient  you  are,  the  greater,  the  better  in  all 
respects  than  we;  by  so  much  the  more  disgrace 
ful  is  it  to  you,  that  you  are  not  able  to  prove 
your  dogma — by  the  miracle  of  even  slaying  a 
louse,  or  by  any  very  small  affection  of  the  Spirit, 
or  by  any  very  small  work  of  holiness — to  us,  who 
are  a  mere  nothing  in  your  presence,  and  are 
wishing  to  learn  and  perform  your  dogma. 
Nay,  you  are  not  even  able  to  exemplify  it  in  a 
single  deed  or  word.  More  than  this,  you  are  not 
even  able  to  declare  the  very  form  or  meaning  of 
the  dogma  (such  a  thing  as  never  was  heard  of), 
that  we,  at  least,  might  imitate  it.  Delightful 
teachers  of  Freewill !  What  are  ye  now,  but  a 
voice,  and  nothing  else  ?  Who  are  those  now, 
Erasmus,  that  make  boast  of  the  Spirit,  and  show 

b  Qudformd.']  In  a  dialectic  sense.  '  A  dialecticis  sumitur 
pro  specie  subjecta  generi.'  <  Formae  sunt,  in  quas  genus 
dividitur.'  '  Specificate,'  or  <  define  '  it  •  i.  e.  enumerate  and 
combine  all  the  several  ideas  contained  in  it. — We  do  not  ask 
miracles,  &c.  ;  we  do  not  even  ask  an  example,  by  vvav  of 
illustrating  it ;  but  we  do  require  a  clear  and  explicit  affirma 
tion  of  what  you  mean  j  a  full  and  precise  description  of  the 
supposed  substance. 


nothing  of  it  ?   that   only  speak,  and  forthwith    SECT.  V. 

expect  to  be  believed.     Are   not  these  admired  

ones  of  yours,  the  men  who  do  all  this ;  though  so 
extolled  to  the  skies  ?  who  do  not  even  speak, 
and  yet  make  such  great  boasts  and  demands?0 

We  ask  it  as  a  favour,  therefore,  of  yourself 
and  of  your  party,  my  Erasmus,  that  you  would 
at  least  grant  to  us,  that,  being  terrified  with  the 
danger  incurred  by  our  conscience,  we  may  be 
allowed  to  indulge  our  fears,  or  at  least  to  defer 
our  assent  to  a  dogma,  which  you  perceive  your 
self  to  be  nothing  but  an  empty  word,  and  the 
sounding  of  so  many  syllables  ;  (to  wit,  '  There  is 
such  a  thing  as  Freewill ;'  '  there  is  such  a  thing 
as  Freewill ;')  if  you  should  even  have  attained  the 
summit  of  your  object,  arid  all  your  positions 
should  have  been  proved  and  allowed.  Then, 
again,  it  is  still  uncertain,  even  amidst  your  own 
party,  whether  this  mere  word  has  a  being  or  not ; 
since  they  are  at  variance  one  with  another,  and 
not  agreed  each  with  himself.  It  is  a  most  unfair 
thing;  nay,  the  most  wretched  thing  imaginable, 
that  the  consciences  of  those  whom  Christ  hath 
redeemed  with  his  own  blood,  should  be  harassed 
with  the  mere  phantom  of  a  single  petty  word, 
and  that  word  of  doubtful  existence.  Yet,  if  we 
do  not  suffer  ourselves  to  be  thus  harassed,  we 
are  accused  of  an  unheard  of  pride,  for  having 
despised  so  many  Fathers,  of  so  many  ages,  who 
have  asserted  the  doctrine  of  Freewill ;  when  the 
truth  is,  that  they  have  laid  down  no  distinct  pro 
positions  at  all  concerning  Freewill,  as  you  per 
ceive  from  what  has  been  said;  and  the  dogma  of 
Freewill  is  set  up  under  the  cover  of  their  name, 
whilst  its  maintainers  are  unable  to  exhibit  either 

c  Qui  nc  dicit  is  quldem^]  'You  are  not  even  the  nightingale.' 
(See  above,  Sect,  i.)  They  had  voice  enough,  when  speaking 
for  themselves  ;  but  none  with  which  to  answer  the  questions 
and  demands  of  their  opponents. 




tion,  cru 
elty,  want 
of  discern 
upon  him. 


its  species,  or  its  name.d  It  is. thus,  that  they  have 
contrived  to  delude  the  world  with  a  lying  word!6 
And  here,  Erasmus.,  I  summon  your  own  and 
not  another's  counsel f  to  my  aid;  who  persuadest 
us  above,  that  we  ought  to  desist  from  questions 
of  this  kind,,  and  rather  to  teach  Christ  crucified, 
and  such  things  as  may  suffice  for  Christian  piety. 
Such  has  now,  for  a  long  time,  been  the  nature  of 
our  questions  and  discussions.  For  what  else  are 
we  aiming  at,  but  that  the  simplicity  and  purity  of 
Christ's  doctrine  may  prevail ;  and  that  those 
dogmas,  which  have  been  invented  and  introduced 
by  men,  may  be  abandoned  and  disregarded. 
But,  whilst  you  give  us  this  advice,  you  do  not 
act  it;  but  just  the  contrary.  You  wrrite  Diatribes, 
you  celebrate  the  decrees  of  Popes,  you  boast  in 
the  authority  of  men,  and  try  all  means  of  hurry 
ing  us  into  those  matters  which  are  strangers  and 
aliens  from  the  holy  Scriptures,  and  of  agitating 
unnecessary  topics;  in  order  that  wre  may  corrupt 
and  confound  the  simplicity  and  genuineness  of 
Christian  piety  with  the  additions  of  men.  Hence 
we  readily  perceive,  that  you  have  not  given  us 
this  counsel  from  your  heart ;  and  that  you  do 

d  Neque  speciem  ncque  nomen,~]  '  They  can  neither  define  it, 
nor  find  an  appropriate  name  by  which  to  express  it.' 

e  Mendacl  vocabulo.~]  Though  they  cannot  find  a  name  for  it, 
they  have  got  a  word  for  it  :  but  that  word  is  a  liar  ;  for  it  pro 
claims  the  will  to  be  free,  which  is  really  in  bondage.  Logi 
cians  distinguish  '  vocabulum  '  from  '  nomen  :'  the  former  is 
arbitrary  and  general ;  the  latter  descriptive  and  precise.  What 
you  cannot  name  (according  to  this  distinction)  you  may  speak 
of.  '  Differunt  nomina  et  vocabula  ;  quia  nomina  finita  sunt  et 
significant  res  proprias ;  vocabula  autem  infinita,  et  res  com 
munes  designant.' 

f  Appellamus.~]  A  forensic  expression,  applied  to  advocate, 
witnesses,  and  judge ;  but  to  each,  in  consistency  with  its  pri 
mary  meaning  of  '  addressing  a  person  by  name  j'  Trpoira^opcvu)' 
Luther  would  avail  himself  of  Erasmus's  own  testimony  and 
advice,  now  that  he  has  shewn  the  dogma  of  Freewill  to  be  this 
unauthorized  and  unprofitable  one.  Erasmus  had  recommended 
that  all  such  should  be  suppressed. 


not  write  any  thing  seriously,  but  trust  to  the  vain  SECT.  vi. 

and  puerile  ornaments  of  your  language^  as  that  

which  may  enable  you  to  lead  the  world  whither 
soever  you  please.  Meanwhile  you,  in  point  of 
fact,  lead  it  no  whither;  for  you  utter  nothing  but 
sheer  contradictions  throughout  the  whole,  and  in 
every  part :  so  that  you  would  be  most  fitly  cha 
racterised  by  the  man  who  should  call  you  Pro 
teus,  or  Vertumnus'1  himself ;  or  who  should 
accost  you  with  the  words  of  Christ,  and  say, 
"Physician,  heal  thyself!"  It  is  disgraceful  to 
the  teacher,  when  the  fault,  which  he  reproves, 
reproves  himself.' 

Until  you  shall  have  proved  your  affirmative, 
therefore,  we  persist  in  our  negative ;  and  venture 
to  make  it  our  boast  at  the  tribunal  of  our  judge 
(even  though  that  judge  should  be  the  whole 
band  of  holy  men,  which  you  vaunt  yourself  as 
having  all  on  your  side  ;  or,  rather,  should  be 
the  whole  world) ;  that  we  do  not,  and  ought 
not  to  admit  a  dogma,  which  is  really  nothing, 
and  of  which  it  cannot  be  shewn,  with  certainty, 
what  it  is.  We  will,  moreover,  charge  you  with 
an  incredible  degree  of  presumption,  or  insanity, 
in  demanding  that  this  dogma  should  be  admitted 
by  us ;  without  any  reason,  except  that  it  pleases 
your  High  Mightinesses — who  are  so  many,  so 
great,  and  so  ancient — to  assert  the  being  of  a 

s  Inanibus  bullis  verlorum.~]  '  Prettinesses  of  style.'  '  Bulla  ' 
is  properly  '  a  bubble,  made  by  the  boiling  of  water,'  and  is 
thence  applied  to  divers  ornaments  of  dress  ;  particularly  to 
one  in  the  shape  of  a  heart,  worn  by  the  Roman  youth  :  of 
which  the  quality  depended  upon  their  rank,  or  degree  of  nobi 
lity.  This  they  dedicated  to  the  Lares,  when  they  took  the 
manly  gown. 

h  Vertumnus  had,  amongst  the  Latins,  the  same  property  of 
assuming  all  shapes,  which  Proteus  had  amongst  the  Greeks. 

'  Luther  does  not  tell  us  to  whom  he  is  indebted  for  this 
int'triral  aphorism. — Erasmus  had  played  the  physician,  pre 
scribing  silence  with  respect  to  some  dogmas  ;  his  own  is 
shewn  to  be  one  of  them. 

94  B   NDAGE  OF  THE  WILL. 

1'ART  ii.  thing,  which  you  confess  yourselves  to  be  a  mere 
-  nothing.  Is  it  really  a  conduct  worthy  of  Chris 
tian  teachers,  to  delude  the  poor  wretched  common 
people,  in  the  matter  of  piety,  with  a  mere  no 
thing  ;  as  though  it  were  a  something  of  great 
moment  to  their  salvation  !  Where  is  now  that 
sharpness  of  Grecian  wit,  which  heretofore  in 
vented  lies,  having  at  least  some  shew  of  beauty; 
but  on  this  subject  utters  only  naked  and  undis 
guised  falsehoods  ?  Where  is  now  that  Latin 
industry,  not  inferior  to  Grecian,  which  in  this 
instance  so  beguiles,  and  is  beguiled,  with  the 
vainest  of  words  ?k  But  thus  it  happens  to  un 
wary,  or  designing,  readers  of  books  :  they  make 
those  dogmas  of  the  Fathers  and  of  the  Saints  which 
are  the  offspring  of  their  infirmity,  to  be  all  of  the 
highest  authority  ;  the  fault  not  being  that  of  the 
authors,  but  of  the  readers.  Just  as  if  a  man, 
leaning  on  the  sanctity  and  authority  of  St.  Peter, 
should  contend  that  all  which  Peter  ever  said 
is  true  ;  including  even  that  saying  in  Matt.  xvi. 
22.  by  which,  through  infirmity  of  the  flesh,  he 
persuaded  Christ  not  to  suffer  ;  or  that  saying,  by 
which  he  commanded  Christ  to  depart  from  him 
out  of  the  ship  (Luke  v.  8.);  and  many  others,  for 
which  he  is  reproved  by  Christ  himself. 
SEC.  vii.  Men  of  this  sort  are  like  those,  who,  by  way  of 
sneering  at  the  Gospel,  go  chattering  that  all  is 
not  true  which  is  in  the  Gospel  ;  and  lay  hold  of 

the  Fa-       that  word  (John  viii.  48.)  where  the  Jews  say  to 
then,  by     Cbrist    «  Say  we  not  ^e}\  ftlSii  thou  art  a  Sama- 

choosing  IT  1-in  i  TT 

their  bad     ritan,  and  hast  a  devil  :"  or  that,  "  He  is  guilty 

k  Erasmus  had  bestowed  these  and  some  other  commenda 
tions  upon  the  Greek  and  Latin  Fathers,  to  the  disparagement  of 
the  Reformers,  as  making  for  his  side  in  the  argument.  Luther 
asks,  whether  what  they  had  said  on  Freewill  was  a  specimen 
of  this  richness  of  invention,  and  laboriousness  of  investigation 
and  expression  ?  Here  they  had  not  excelled,  any  more  than 
Erasmus  himself;  to  whom  Luther  was  not  backward  to 
ascribe  the  praise  of  resembling  and  even  equalling  them. 


of  death ;"  or  that  "  We  have  found  this  fellow   SEC.  vn. 

subverting   our   nation,   and   forbidding   to  give  

tribute  unto  Csesar."     The  assertors  of  Freewill  sayings 
do  just  the  same  thing  (with  a  different  design,  it  j1"        ' 
is  true;  and  not  willingly,  but  through  blindness  good. 
and  ignorance),  when  they  lay  hold  on  what  the 
Fathers,  having   fallen   through   infirmity  of  the 
flesh,  say  in  support  of  Freewill;  and  oppose  it  to 
what  the  same  Fathers  have,  in  the  strength  of  the 
Spirit,    said   elsewhere   against   it  :  after   which, 
they  go  on  presently  to  make  the  better  give  place 
to  the  worse.     Thus  it  comes  to  pass,   that  they 
give  authority  to  the  worse  sayings,  because  they 
make  for  the  judgment  of  their  flesh ;  and  with 
draw  it  from  the  better,  because  they  make  against 
that  judgment. 

Why  do  we  not  rather  choose  the  better? 
Many  such  sayings  are  in  the  works  of  the 
Fathers.  To  give  you  an  instance :  what  saying  can 
be  more  carnal ;  nay,  what  saying  can  be  more  im 
pious,  more  sacrilegious,  and  more  blasphemous  ; 
than  that  wonted  one  of  Jerome's  ?  '  Virginity  fills 
heaven,  and  marriage  earth/  As  if  earth,  and 
not  heaven,  were  the  due  of  those  patriarchs, 
apostles,  and  private  Christians,  who  have  married 
wives ;  or  heaven  were  the  due  of  vestal  virgins 
amongst  the  heathens,  without  Christ !  Yet  the 
Sophists  collect  these,  and  like  sayings,  from  the 
Fathers ;  maintaining  a  contest  of  numbers,  rather 
than  of  judgment,  to  get  the  sanction  of  authority 
x>r  them.  Just  like  that  stupid  fellow,  Faber  of 
Jonstance,1  who  presented  his  Margaritum  (more 
)roperly  called  his  stable  of  Augeas)  lately  to  the  , 

1  John  Faber,  a  native  of  Suabia ;  who,  from  one  of  his  works 
gainst  the  Reformers,  probably  this  very  work,  was  called 
The  Mallet  of  the  Heretics.'  He  was  advanced  to  the  see  of 
ienna  in  1531,  and  died  there  in  1542.  His  elevation  was 
jpposed  to  have  been  the  fruit  of  his  zeal  against  Luther, 
le  entitled  it  his  Pearl :  but  Luther  wrould  rather  call  it  his 
Dunghill;  with  allusion  to  Hercules's  famous  labour  of  remov- 
ig  the  long  accumulated  filth  of  3000  oxen. 




'  that  God 
have  dis 
guised  the 
of  his 


public.,  that  the  pious  and  learned  might  have 
their  nauseating  and  vomiting  draught. 

In  answer  to  what  you  say,  '  that  it  is  incre 
dible  that  God  should  have  disguised"1  the  error  of 
his  Church  for  so  many  ages,  and  should  not  have 
revealed  to  any  of  his  saints  what  we  maintain  to 
be  the  very  head  of  evangelical  doctrine ;'  I  reply  : 

First,  that  we  do  not  say  that  this  error  has  been 
tolerated  by  God  in  his  Church,  or  in  any  saint  of 
His.  For,  the  Church  is  governed  by  the  Spirit  of 
God ;  the  saints  are  led  by  the  Spirit  of  God 
(Rom.  viii.  14.);  and  Christ  remains  with  his 
Church  even  unto  the  end  of  the  world  (Matt, 
xxviii.  20.);  and  the  Church  of  God  is  the  pillar 
and  ground  of  the  truth."  (1  Tim.  iii.  15.)  These 
things,  I  say,  we  know.  For  thus  speaks  even 
our  common  creed ;  i  I  believe  in  the  holy  Catholic 
Church :'  so  that  it  is  impossible  for  her  to  err  in 
the  least  article.0  And  if  we  should  even  grant 

m  Dissimuldrit.']  '  Diligenter  et  astute  celo,  occulto,  fingo  non 
esse,  quod  revera  est.' 

11  STV^AO?  KUI  s&pafafui  T/y<?  dXrjOeteif']  Luther  connects  and 
refers  these  words,  as  the  older  editions  of  the  Scriptures,  and 
our  translators,  have  done ;  but  Griesbach,  and  others  after 
him,  connect  them  with  what  follows.  A  very  important 
sense  is  thus  elicited  ;  "  the  pillar  and  ground  of  the  truth 
(and  without  controversy  great  is  the  mystery  of  godliness) 
is  God  was  manifested  in  the  flesh,  &c." — But  there  seems  an 
evident  allusion  to  the  ancient  tabernacle,  with  its  boards  and 
sockets  (the  pillars,  or  uprights,  and  the  silver  foundations  into 
which  these  were  grooved  ;  see  Exod.  xxvi.  15 — 30.)  j  of  which 
the  Church  of  God  is  the  blessed  reality ;  even  as  that  was  the 
image,  or  figure. 

0  Luther  seems  to  have  inferred  the  immaculateness  of  the 
militant  and  visible  Church,  from  the  above,  and  other  like 
testimonies  ;  '  an  entire  exemption  from  error  in  a  certain  ever-1 
subsistent  community  of  the  Lord's  people  tabernacling  in 
flesh  of  sin'.  The  Nineteenth  Article  of  our  Church  declares, 
more  correctly,  '  The  visible  Church  of  Christ  is  a  congrega 
tion  of  faithful  men,  in  the  which  the  pure  word  of  God 
is  preached,  and  the  sacraments  be  duly  ministered,  in  all  those 
things  that  of  necessity  are  requisite  to  the  same.  As  the  Church 
of  Jerusalem,  Alexandria,  and  Antioch  have  erred,  so  also  the 
Church  of  Rome  hath  erred  ;  not  only  in  their  living  and  man 
ner  of  ceremonies,,  but  also  in  matters  of  faith.'- — The  same 


that  some  elect  persons  are  held  in  error  all  their  SEC.VIII. 

lifetime,  still  they  must,  before  death,  return  into  - 
the  way  ;  because  Christ  says  (John  x.  28.),  "  No 

one  shall  pluck  them  out  of  my  hand."     But  this  whathe 
must  be  your  labour  and  your  achievement;  even  calls  the 
to  make  it  appear,  with  certainty,  that  those  whom  ^  "he  ' 
you  call  the  Church,  are  the  Church  ;  or,  rather,  Church. 
that  those,  who  all  their  lifetime  were  wanderers, 
have  not  at  length  been  brought  back  to  the  fold, 
before  they  died.     For  it  does  not  directly  follow, 
if  God  hath  suffered  all  those  whom  you  adduce 
(scattered  through  as  long  a  series  of  ages  as  you 
please,  and  men  of  the  greatest  erudition,  if  you 
please)  to  abide  iu  error,  that  therefore  he  has 
suffered  his  Church  to  abide  in  error. 

Look  at  Israel,  the  people  of  God  :  of  all  their 

kings,  so  many  in  number,  and  reigning  during  so 

long  a  period,  not  even  one  is  mentioned,  but  what 

erred.     And  under  Elias  the  Prophet,  to  such  a 

degree  had  all  men,  and  all  that  was  public*  of  that 

!  people,  departed  into  idolatry  ;  that  he  thought 

himself  left  alone.     Yet,  in  the  mean  time,  whilst 

God  was  going  to  destroy  kings,  princes,  priests, 

irophets,    and   whatsoever   could   be   called   the 

)eople  or  church  of  God,  he  reserved  to  himself 

seven  thousand  men.    But  who  saw  or  knew  these 

:o  be  the  people  of  God  ?    So  then,  who  will  dare 

;o  deny,  that  God  hath  even  now  preserved  to 

aimself  a  Church   amongst  the  common  people, 

concealed   under  those  principal  men,    (for   you 

mention  none  but   men  of  public  office  and   of 

name  —  )  and  hath  left  all  those  to  perish,  as  he  did 

n  the  kingdom  of  Israel?    since  it  is  God's  pecu- 

•emark  extends  to  each  individual  of  the  faithful.  Who  hath  not 
:rrecl  in  his  lifetime  ?  Of  whom  shall  we  say,  that  he  died 
vithout  any  mixture  of  error  in  his  creed  ?  —  Luther's  repre- 
entation,  therefore,  requires  restriction:  of  such  error  as  he 
disputing  about,  it  holds  good. 

p  Omne  quod  publicum  erat.~]  '  Men  of  public  station,  as 
•pposed  to  private  men.'  Luther  does  not  forget  Erasmus's 
rivatus  and  publicus. 



PART  ii.  liar  right  and  act,  to  entangle  the  choice  men  of 

Israel,  and  to  slay  their  fat  ones  (Psa.  Ixxviii.  31), 

but  to  preserve  the  dregs  and  remnant  of  Israel 
alive  ;  as  Esaias  saith.q 

What  happened  under  Christ  himself:  when  all 
the  Apostles  were  offended,  and  he  was  denied, 
and  condemned  by  the  whole  people;  scarcely  one 
or  two,  Nicodemus  and  Joseph,  and  afterwards 
the  thief  upon  the  cross,  being  preserved  to  him  ? 
But  were  these,  at  that  time,  called  the  people  of 
God?  There  was,  indeed,  a  people  of  God  re 
maining,  but  it  was  not  called  so  :  what  was  called 
so,  was  not  that  people.  Who  knows,  whether 
such  may  not  have  been  the  state  of  the  Church 
of  God  always,  during  the  whole  course  of  the 
world,  from  its  beginning ;  that  some  have  been 
called  the  people  and  saints  of  God,  who  were  not 
really  so ;  whilst  others,  abiding  as  a  remnant  in 
the  midst  of  them,  have  been,  but  have  not  been 
called,  his  people  or  saints  ?  as  is  shewn  by  the 
history  of  Cain  and  Abel,  of  Ishmael  and  Isaac,  of 
Esau  and  Jacob. 

Look  at  the  Arian  period  :r  when  scarcely  five 

i  Frequent  promises  are  made  in  this  Prophet  that '  a  remnant 
shall  be  left.'  "  Except  the  Lord  of  Hosts  had  left  us  a  ver 
small  remnant,  we  should  have  been  as  Sodom,"  &c.  (Is.  i.  9.) 
"  The  remnant  of  Israel  and  such  as  are  escaped  of  the  house  o 

Jacob The  remnant  shall  return,  even  the  remnant  of  JacobJ  < 

unto  the  mighty  God."     "  For  though  my  people  Israel  be 
the   sand   of  the  sea,   yet  a    remnant  of  them   shall  return.' 
(x.  20,  21,  22.    Comp.  Rom.  ix.  27.)   So  Is.  xi  11— 16.     But 
do  not  find  the  expressions  '  dregs'  and  '  remnant'  united. 

r  Arrianorum  seculum.~\  Arianism  arose  early  in  the  fourt 
century ;  about  three  hundred  years  before  the  rise  of  th 
Popedom  ;  and,  though  condemned  by  Councils,  was  adopte 
by  several  of  Constantine's  successors,  and  became  a  source  o 
grievous  persecution  to  those  who  were  sound  in  the  faith 
For  an  account  of  its  origin  and  real  nature,  see  Milner's  Eccle 
Hist.  vol.  ii.  pp.  51 — 54.  It  was,  in  substance,  a  denial  of  th< 
co-eternity,  co-equality,  and  co-essentiality  of  the  Lord  Jesu 
Christ  with  the  Father.  '  Already  some  secret  and  ambiguou 
attempts  had  been  made  to  lessen  the  idea  of  the  divinity  of  t 
Son  of  God.  While  his  eternity  was  admitted  by  Eusebius  th 


Catholic8  bishops  were  preserved  in  all  the  world,  SEC.VIII. 
and   those   driven   from   their   sees;   the  Ariatis  

historian,  he  yet  was  not  willing  to  own  him  co-equal  with 
the  Father.  Arius  went  greater  lengths  :  he  said,  'That  the  Son 
proceeded  out  of  a  state  of  non-existence ;  that  he  was  not 
before  he  was  made  ;  that  he,  who  is  without  beginning,  has 
set  his  Son  as  the  beginning  of  things  that  are  made ;  and  that 
God  made  one,  whom  he  called  Word,  Son,  and  Wisdom,  by 
whom  he  did  create  us.'  (Milu.  in  loc.)  Like  all  the  rest  of 
heresy,  it  is  truth  corrupted ;  and  the  only  solid  and  satisfac 
tory  answer  will  be  given  to  it,  not  by  boldly  asserting  and 
proving  the  real  and  proper  divinity  of  the  Lord  Jesus,  but  by 
showing  forth  his  whole  person  in  its  complexity ;  made  up, 
as  it  is,  of  two  persons,  a  divine  person  and  an  human  person, 
held  together  by  an  indissoluble  union :  the  secret  being,  that 
God  does  all  his  works  by  this  complex  person's  agency,  who 
acts  in  his  human  person  as  plenarily  inspired  by  the  Holy 
Ghost.  This  person  who  thus  doeth  that  will  of  God — of  God, 
even  the  Trinity — which  is  referred  to  the  Father  personally  j 
does  hereby,  amongst  other  subjects  of  manifestation,  especially 
manifest  that  which  we  may  well  suppose  to  be  the  preemi 
nent  object  of  display  in  the  TRI-UNE  Jehovah,  the  threefold 
personality  of  his  one  undivided  essence. — I  am  aware  that  the 
term  '  union  of  persons,'  as  substituted  for  '  union  of  natures,' 
will  be  deemed  objectionable,  till  it  is  well  considered  :  but  I 
have  the  authority  of  one  of  the  best  philosophers  I  know,  for 
thus  entitling  the  human  part  of  the  person  of  the  Lord  Jesus 
Christ.  '  That  which  can  contrive,  which  can  design,  must  be 
a  person.  These  capacities  constitute  personality,  for  they  imply 
consciousness  and  thought.  They  require  that  which  can  per 
ceive  an  end  or  purpose  ;  as  well  as  the  power  of  providing 
means,  and  of  directing  them  to  their  end.  They  require  a  cen 
tre  in  which  perceptions  unite,  and  from  which  volitions  flow ; 
which  is  mind.  The  acts  of  a  mind  prove  the  existence  of  a 
mind  ;  and  in  whatever  a  mind  resides  is  a  person.  The  seat  of 
intellect  is  a  person.'  (Paley's  Nat.  Theol.  pp.  439,  44O,  14th 
Edn.^  Now,  is  it  not  plain  from  Scripture,  and  the  admis 
sion  of  all  Christians,  with  a  very  few  heretical  exceptions, 
that  the  Lord  Jesus  had  this  human  mind,  distinct  from  his 
godhead  ?  he  had,  therefore,  according  to  this  description,  a 
person  distinct  from  his  divine  person. — And,  what  is  to  hinder 
that  divine  person,  if  the  will  oi'  God  be  so,  from  taking  up  an 
human  person  into  union  with  himself,  and  acting  in  that  per 
son,  from  thenceforth,  not  in  his  divine  person  ?  Is  not  that 
union  real,  which  subsists  between  this  divine  person  and  this 
human  person ;  when  this  human  person,  having  been  first 
generated,  is  afterwards  inhabited,  by  his  co-equal  co- essential 
in  the  unity  of  God  ?  Does  it  not  also  subsist  without  for- 


PART  ii.  reigning  every  where,  under  the  public  name,  and 

as  filling  the  office/  of  the  Church.    Nevertheless, 

under  the  dominion  of  those  heretics,  Christ  pre 
served  his  Church;  but  in  such  a  form,  that  it  was 
by  no  means  supposed  to  be,  or  regarded  as,  the 

Under  the  reign  of  the  Pope,  shew  me  a  single 
bishop  discharging  his  duty;  shew  me  a  single 
Council,  in  which  matters  of  piety  were  treated  of; 

feiture  of  distinctness  ?  Is  it  not  also  constant  and  unbroken, 
when  that  divine  person  evermore  acts  in  and  by  that  human 
person,  putting  his  godhead  as  it  were  into  abeyance  ?  Yet, 
are  not  his  acts  and  his  sufferings  the  acts  and  sufferings  of  the 
co-equal  of  the  Father,  and  of  the  Holy  Ghost  ?  There  is  no 
diminution,  it  is  plain,  of  his  essential  godhead,  in  his  volun 
tarily,  and  to  a  great  end,  submitting  to  act  ly  and  in  this 
creature  person  ;  which  constitutes  him  at  the  same  time  both 
creature  and  Creator  :  very  man  cloeth  the  works  of  God,  and 
very  God  doeth  the  works  of  man. — And,  if  this  complexity  of 
person  is  thus  to  be  realized  in  time,  what  is  to  hinder  that 
person  in  God,  in  whom  it  is  to  be  realized,  from  transacting 
as  though  he  actually  were  this  complex  person,  from  and  in 
the  beginning  ?  Is  not  Jehovah's  will  both  immutable  and 
irresistible  ?  is  it  not  his  propriety,  to  call  things  which  are  not 
as  though  they  were,  and  to  give  realized  being  to  substances 
which,  as  yet,  exist  in  predestination  ?  And  must  he  not  have 
acted  thus  in  this  particular  instance,  when  he  chose  a  people 
of  mankind  to  be  in  this  complex  person  as  a  head,  and  gave 
grace  to  that  people  so  chosen,  before  the  world  began  ? — 
Now,  therefore,  we  can  meet  Arius  upon  his  own  ground,  and 
confound  him  even  there.  Admitting  all  that  he  says,  and 
says  from  the  plain  text  of  Scripture,  about  '  begotten,'  '  non- 
existence,'  '  was  not  before  he  was  made,'  '  God  hath  made  one 
whom  he  calls  Word,  Son,  and  Wisdom,  by  whom  he  did 
create  us  ;'  this  in  no  wise  impugns  the  co-eternity,  co-equa 
lity,  and  co-essentiality  of  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  with  the 
Father :  his  human  person,  by  and  in  which  he  has  thus  been 
doing  all  things,  is  the  creature  \vhich  Arius  would  describe  ; 
but  he  who  assumed  this  person  into  union  with  himself  is 
very  God-  which  implies,  that  he  is  all  that  God  is. 

s  Catholid.']  Cath.  opposed  to  heretical;  a  Greek  term  (aipcaif 
«//j6T<Kos-)  denoting  '  selection',  or  '  partiality,'  as  opposed  to 
the  profession  of  the  whole  faith. 

1  Publico  nomine  el  offido^]  They  were  publicly  called,  and 
recognised  as,  Christ's  Church ;  and  performed  its  public 


and  not  robes,  dignity,  revenues,  and  other  pro-  SEC.VIII. 
fane  trifles,  which  none  but  a  madman  can  attri 
bute  to  the  Holy  Spirit.  Yet  they  are  called  the 
Church ;  when  all  who  live  as  they  did — whatever 
may  be  said  of  others — are  in  a  lost  state,  and  any 
thing-  rather  than  the  Church.  Howbeit,  under 
these  Christ  preserved  his  Church ;  yet  so,  as  not 
to  have  it  called  the  Church.  How  many  saints, 
think  you,  have  these  sole  and  special  inquisi 
tors"  of  heretical  pravity  burnt  and  slain;  in  the 
course  of  some  ages,  for  which  they  have  now 
reigned?  Such  as  John  Hussv  and  the  like;  in 
whose  time,  no  doubt  many  holy  men  lived,  of  the 
same  spirit. 

Why  do  you  not  rather  express  your  admira 
tion  at  this,  Erasmus,  that,  from  the  beginning  of 
the  wrorld,  there  have  always  existed  amongst  the 
heathens  men  of  more  excellent  genius,  greater 
erudition,  and  more  ardent  study,  than  amongst 
Christians,  or  the  people  of  God?  Just  as  Christ 
himself  confesses,  that  the  children  of  this  world 
are  wiser  than  the  children  of  light.  (Lukexvi.  8.) 
What  Christian  is  worthy  to  be  compared  with 

u  Soli  isti  inquisitor  es.~]  Referring,  not  to  the  Inquisition  only 
(which  was  established  about  the  year  1226  ;  the  Vaudois  and 
Albigenses  being  the  first  objects  of  it)  ;  but  to  the  whole  system 
of  espionage,  confiscation,  excommunication,  and  violence,  with 
which  '  the  lamb-like  beast'  professed  to  be  achieving  the 
extirpation  of  heresy  ;  whilst  he  was  himself  the  great  here- 

v  John  Huss,  and  his  fellow-martyr  Jerom  of  Prague,  were 
amongst  the  earlier  and  most  intrepid  vociferators  against  the 
Papal  abuses.  They  were  favoured  with  much  insight  into  the 
truth  of  God,  walking  in  the  light,  and  treading  in  the  steps, 
of  their  immediate  predecessor,  Wickliff;  though  it  has  been 
said,  that  they  struck  at  the  branches  rather  than  the  root  of 
Antichrist,  not  sufficiently  exposing  the  predominant  corrup 
tions  in  doctrine.  (See  Milner,  vol.  iv.  p.  275.)  They  suffered 
death,  under  very  aggravated  circumstances  of  perfidy,  fierceness, 
and  maliciousness,  by  a  decree  of  the  Council  of  Constance, 
1415,  1416  j  about  a  hundred  years  before  Luther's  time.  Huss 
is  supposed  to  have  been  Luther's  swan;  singing  of  him  in  his 
death,  as  one  that  should  come  after. 




SEC.  IX. 


Church  is 
not  yet 
ed  ;    the 
saints  are 

but  Cicero  only — not  to  mention  the  Greeks — in 
genius.,  erudition,  and  diligence?  What  shall  we 
then  say  to  have  been  the  hindrance,  that  none  of 
them  hath  been  able  to  attain  to  grace  ?  Cer 
tainly  they  have  exercised  the  free  will  with  all 
their  might :  and  who  will  venture  to  say,  that 
not  any  one  of  them  hath  been  most  eagerly  bent 
upon  arriving  at  the  truth  ?  Yet  it  must  be 
asserted,,  that  none  of  them  hath  reached  it.  Will 
you  say  here  also,  that  it  is  incredible  God  should 
have  left  so  many  and  so  great  men  to  them 
selves,  throughout  the  whole  course  of  the  world, 
and  should  have  suffered  them  to  strive  in  vain  ? 
Assuredly,  if  Freewill  w^ere  any  thing,  or  could 
do  any  thing,  it  must  have  been  something,  and 
have  done  something,  in  those  men ;  in  some  one 
of  them  at  least.  But  it  has  effected  nothing; 
nay,  its  effect  has  always  been  the  opposite  way. 
So  that  Freewill  may  be  fully  proved  to  be  nothing, 
by  this  single  argument ;  that,  from  the  beginning 
of  the  world  to  the  end,  no  sign  can  be  shewn 
of  it. 

But  to  return  to  the  point.  What  wonder,  if 
God  suffer  all  the  great  ones  of  the  Church  to  walk 
in  their  own  ways,  when  he  has  so  left  all  nations 
to  walk  in  their  own  ways;  as  Paul  says  in  the 
Acts?  (xiv.  16.)  The  Church  of  God  is  not  so 
vulgar  x  a  thing,  my  Erasmus,  as  this  name,  '  The 
Church  of  God/  by  which  it  is  called ;  nor  do  the 
saints  of  God  meet  us  up  and  down  every  where, 
so  commonly  as  this  name  of  theirs,  c  The  Saints 
of  God/  does.  They  are  a  pearl  and  noble  gems; 
which  the  Spirit  does  not  cast  before  swine,  but, 
as  the  Scripture  speaks,  keeps  hidden ;  that  the 

x  fulgaris  ]  Properly,  '  what  is  possessed  by  the  common 
people;'  'ordinary/  'common,'  '  promiscuous  ;'  opposed  to 
'  rare,'  '  choice/  '  what  is  the  possession  of  a  few.'  The 
names  '  Church  of  God/  and  '  Saints/  are  in  every  body's 
mouth ;  but  the  things  signified  by  these  names  are  select  and 


wicked  may  not  see  the  glory  of  God.y     Else,  if  SECT-  x- 
these  were  openly  recognised  by  all  people,  how  " 
could  it  happen  that  they  should  be  so  afflicted 
and  persecuted  in  the  world?   as  Paul  says,    "If 
they  had  known,  they  would  not  have  crucified  the 
Lord  of  glory." 

I  do  not  say  these  things,  as  denying  that  those 
whom  you  mention  were  saints,  or  were  the  Church 

of  God;  but  because  it  cannot  be  proved  (should  judgment 
any  one  be  disposed  to  deny  it)  that  these  iden-  ^ment^ 
tical  persons  were   saints,  but  must  be  left  alto-  Of  charity. 
gether  uncertain  :  and,  consequently,  an  argument 
drawn  from   their  saintship  is   not  of   sufficient 
credit  a  to  confirm  any  dogma.     I  call  them  saints, 
and  account  them  such  ;  I  call,  and  think  them  to 
have  been,  the  Church  of  God  ;  but  by  the  law  of 
love,  not  by   the  law  of  faith  :    that  is,  charity, 

y  Gloriam  Dei.~\  These  substances  are  not  only  select,  but 
hidden  ;  '  the  Church'  is  an  invisible  community,  and  the 
saints  have  no  outward  badge  to  distinguish  them.  If  they 
could  be  discerned  by  the  eye,  that  Scripture  would  be  falsi 
fied,  which  saith,  '  The  wicked  shall  not  see  the  glory  of  God.' 
I  do  not  find  this  text  to  which  he  appears  to  refer.  The  Lord's 
people  are  expressly  called  'his  hidden  ones.'  Ps.  Ixxxiii.  3. 
and  his  act  of  hiding  them  is  mentioned  Ps.  xxvii.  5.  xxxi.  20. 
Also  the  sentiment  of  '  the  wicked  not  seeing  God,'  is  com 
mon  in  Scripture,  though  not  with  this  allusion  ;  which  is  evi 
dently  a  strained  one,  though  beautiful  and  just.  But  I  do  not 
find  any  Scripture  which  puts  the  two  sentiments  together  ; 
'hidden,  that  the  wicked  may  not  see.'  '  The  Church,'  and  '  each 
individual  saint,'  is  a  part  of  that  substance,  '  the  mystical 
Christ,'  which  God  has  ordained  and  created  to  his  glory. 

z  Dominion  gloricE  crucijijcissent.~]  Here  again,  we  have  a 
strained  application  of  Scripture  (1  Cor.  ii.  8.)  ;  although  the 
sentiment  be  correct.  What  the  Apostle  there  says,  he  says  of 
Christ  personally  and  exclusively  ;  but  it  is  also  true,  that,  in 
persecuting  his  people,  they  act  his  crucifixion  over  again. 
They  are  animated  with  the  same  spirit  as  the  crucifiers  ;  and 
the  Lord  himself  has  said,  with  application  to  this  very  case, 
"  Why  persecutes!  thou  Me?" 

a  Locum  satis  fidelem~\  Loc.  more  strictly,  '  a  fund  of  ar 
guments  ;  '  '  locus'  et  '  loci,'  sunt  sedes  argumentorum,  ex 
(niibus  ea  tanquam  e  promptuario  petuntur.  Fid.  '  fide  dignus,' 
'trustworthy;'  like  Trunos,  it  expresses  either  'one  who  has 
faith,'  or  '  one  towards  whom  faith  is  exercised.' 



PART  ii.  which  thinketh  all  good  of  every  man,  and  is  in 
no  wise  suspicious,  and  believes  and  presumes  all 
good  of  her  neighbours,  calls  any  baptized  person 
you  please,1'  '  a  saint/  Nor  is  there  any  mischief, 
if  she  be  mistaken  :  because  it  is  the  lot  of  charity 
to  be  deceived;  exposed,  as  she  is,  to  all  the 
uses  and  abuses  of  all  men  ;  a  general  helper  to 
the  good  and  to  the  evil,  to  the  faithful  and  to 
-the  unfaithful,  to  the  true  and  to  the  false.  But 
<  faith  calls  no  man  a  saint,  except  he  be  declared 
such  by  a  divine  judgment.  Because  it  is  the 
property  of  faith,  not  to  be  deceived.  So  that, 
whereas,  we  ought  all  to  be  accounted  saints  mu 
tually,  by  the  law  of  charity;  still,  no  one  ought 
to  be  decreed  a  saint  by  the  law  of  faith;  as 
though  it  were  an  article  of  faith,  that  this  or  that 
man  is  a  saint.  It  is  in  this  way,  that  the  Pope, 
that  great  adversary  of  God,  who  sets  himself  in 
the  place  of  G  od,  canonizes  his  saints  :  of  whom 
he  knows  not  that  they  are  saints.c 

This   only  I  affirm,  with  respect  to  those  saints 
Qf  y0urs  or  rather  of  ours  ;  that,  since  they  are  at 

•  11  Till 

variance  amongst  themselves,  those  rather  should 
have  been  followed  who  spoke  the  best  things; 
that  is,  against  Freewill  in  support  of  grace  ;  and 
those  should  have  been  left,  who,  through  infir 
mity  of  the  iiesh,  have  witnessed  to  the  flesh, 
rather  than  to  the  Spirit.  Again  ;  those  writers, 
who  are  inconsistent  with  themselves,  should  have 
been  adopted  and  embraced  where  they  speak 
after  the  Spirit,  and  left  where  they  savour  the 
flesh.  This  was  the  part  of  a  Christian  reader;  a 
clean  animal,  which  parteth  the  hoof  and  chew- 
eth  the  cud.d  But  our  course  has  been.,  to  post- 

b  Quamvis  baptisatum.']  Luther  states  this  too  broadly  :  the 
judgment  of  charity  is  moderate  and  indulgent  ;  but  surely  there 
are  deflections,  both  in  faith  and  practice,  which  place  many 
'  a  baptized  unbeliever'  beyond  the  bounds  of  the  widest  en 
closures  of  charity. 

c  See  2  Thessal.  ii.  4.        d  See  Levit,  xi.  3.     Deut.  xiv.  6. 

ther  would 



pone  the  exercise  of  judgment,,  and  to  devour  all  SECT.XI. 

sorts  of  meat  indiscriminately :  or,  what  is  still 

more  unrighteous,  by  a  perverse  exercise  of  judg 
ment,  we  reject  the  better  and  approve  the  worse, 
in  the  self-same  authors ;  and,  after  having  done 
so,  we  affix  the  title  and  authority  of  their  saint- 
ship  to  those  very  parts  which  are  the  worse :  a 
title  which  they  have  deserved  for  their  better 
parts,  and  for  the  Spirit  only;  not  for  their  Free 
will,  or  flesh. 

'  What  shall  we  do  then  ?  The  Church  is  a  hidden  Erasmus's 
community  :    the   saints  are  not  yet  manifested,  j^^dvice 
What  and  whom  shall  we   believe?  or,  as  you  stated;  in 
most  shrewdly  argue,  who  shall  assure  us?    How  somedf- 
shall  we  try  their  spirit?0  If  you  look  to  erudition,  mTtteVbut 
there  are  Rabbies  on  both  sides.     If  you  look  to  amended. 
the  life,  on  both  sides  are  sinners.     If  you  look 
to  Scripture,  both  parties  embrace  it  with  affec 
tion.     Nor  is  the  dispute  so  much  about  Scrip 
ture  (which  is  not  even  yet  quite  clear)  as  about 
the  meaning  of  Scripture/     Moreover,  there  are 
on  both  sides  men,  who,  if  they  do  not  promote 
their  cause  at  all  by  their  numbers,  their  erudition, 
or  their  dignity ;  much  less  do  so,  by  their  fewness, 
their  ignorance,  and  their  meanness.     The  matter 
is  therefore  left  in  doubt,  and  the  dispute  remains 
still  under  the  hands    of  the  judge :    so  that  it 
seems  as  if  we  should  act  most  prudently  in  with 
drawing,    as  a  body,  into  the  sentiment  of   the 
Sceptics  ;  unless  we  should  rather  choose  to  fol 
low  your  best  of  all  examples,  who  profess  to  be 
just  in  such  a  state  of  doubt,  as  enables  you  to  tes 
tify,  that  you  are  still  a  seeker  and  a  learner  of 

e  Unde  e.rplorahimus  SpiritumJ]  Referring  to  1  John  iv.  1. 
Erasmus  talks  about  Paul's  recommending  to  try  the  spirits, 
hut  evidently  his  allusion  is  to  these  words  of  St.  John. 

f  Neijue  adeo  de  Scripturd.]  It  is  not  so  much  the 
authority  of  Scripture,  as  its  right  interpretation,  which  is  in 
dispute.  Qua:  necdum.  Want  of  clearness  is  hinted  rather  than 
affirmed ;  '  necdum'  implies,  '  notwithstanding  all  that  has  been 
written  and  decreed  about  it.' 


PART  ii.  the  truth  ;  inclining  to  that  side  which  asserts  the 
--  freedom  of  the  will,  only  just  until  truth  shall  have 
made  herself  manifest/ 

To  this  I  reply,  '  What  you  say  here  is  the 
truth,  but  not  the  whole  truth/  g  For  we  shall  not 
try  the  spirits  by  arguments  drawn  from  the  eru 
dition,  life,  genius,  multitude,  dignity,  ignorance, 
rudeness,  paucity,  or  meanness  of  the  dispu 
tants.  Nor  do  I  approve  those,  who  place  their 
refuge  in  a  boast  that  they  have  the  Spirit.  For  I 
have  had  a  very  severe  contest  this  year,1'  and  am 
still  maintaining  it,  with  those  fanatics  who  sub 
ject  the  Scriptures  to  the  interpretation  of  their 
own  spirit.  Nay,  it  is  on  this  ground,  that  I  have 
hitherto  inveighed  against  the  Pope  himself;  in 
whose  kingdom  nothing  is  more  commonly  urged, 
or  more  commonly  received,  than  this  saying, 
c  That  the  Scriptures  are  obscure  and  ambigu 
ous  ;'  '  that  we  must  seek  the  interpreting  spirit 
from  the  Apostolic  See  of  Rome/  There  cannot 
be  a  more  pernicious  assertion  than  this  ;  from 
which  ungodly  men  have  taken  occasion  to  exalt 
themselves  above  the  Scriptures,  and  to  fabricate 
just  what  they  pleased  :  till  at  length,  having  quite 
trodden  the  Scriptures  under  foot,  we  were  be 
lieving  and  teaching  nothing  but  the  dreams  of 
madmen.  In  a  word,  this  saying  is  no  human  in 
vention,  but  a  mouthful  of  poison  sent  into  the 
world  by  the  incredible  malice  of  the  very  prince 
of  all  the  devils. 

SEC.  xii.      This  is  our  assertion  ;  that  the.j3pjrita  aje_ia  be 
trjed  and  proved  by  tw,Q  sorts  of  judgment.   One  of 

these  is  internal  ;  by_  which,,the  man  who  has  been 
naisforthe  enlightened  by  the  Holy  Spirit,  or  special  gift  of 

s  Neque  nihil,  neque  omnia  dicis."]  Erasmus  says  rightly,  '  the 
spirits  must  be  tried  ;  '  wrongly,  '  that  there  is  no  test  of  them.' 
Also,  the  tests  he  proposes  are  bad. 

h  It  was  in  J525  (the  date  of  his  performance),  that  Luther 
published  his  '  Address  to  the  Celestial  Prophets  and  Ca- 


his  own  .sake  and  for  his  own  individual  SEC.  xn. 

salvation,  doth,  \\ith  the  greatest  certainly,  judg;.' 

and  discern  the  dogmas  and  thoughts  of  all  men.  sPints  of 

•A  /-•  *  n  •  •      men  j   one 

i  this  judgment  the  Apostle  speaks,  1  Cor.  11.  p,ivate,the 
15.  "  He  that  is  spiritual  judgeth  all  things,  and  other  pub- 
is  judged  of  no  man."  This  judgment  appertains 
to  faith ;  and  is  necessary  even  to  every  private 
Christian,  t  have  called  it  above  '  the  internal 
clearness  of  Holy  Scripture/'  Perhaps,  this  is 
what  was  meant  by  those  who  have  replied  to  you, 
'  that  every  thing  must  be  determined  by  the  judg 
ment  of  the  Spirit/  But  this  judgment  is  of  no 
profit  to  any  other  person  besides  ourselves,  and 
is  not  the  subject  of  inquiry  in  this  cause  :  nor 
does  any  one,  I  dare  say,  doubt  that  this  judg 
ment  is  just  what  I  state  it  to  be. 

There  is,  therefore,  another  judgment,  which  is 
external ;  and  by  which  we,  not  only  for  our 
selves,  but  for  others,  and  for  the  salvation  of 
others,  do  with  the  greatest  certainty  judge  the 
spirits  and  dogmas  of  all  men.  XJjjsJs  the  judg 
ment  of  the  public  ministry,  an  outward  office, 
appealing  to  the  word:  what  belongs  chielly  to 
the  leaders  of  the  people,  and  preachers  of  the 
word.k  We  use  it  to  confirm  the  weak,  and  to 

J  See  Part  i.  Sect.  iv. 

k  Judic'mm  publici  ministerii  in  verbal]  Minis.  '  The  office,  or 
body,  of  ministers.'  In  verbo.  The  word  is  to  them,  what  the 
law  of  the  land  is  to  a  civil  judge.  Offic.  exter.  opposed  to  an  in 
ternal  function,  or  operation.  Luther  refers  to  the  judgment 
of  a  synod,  or  council  ;  a  tribunal,  to  which  he  always  de 
clared  himself  willing  to  submit  his  own  obnoxious  assertions. 
He  states  the  matter  too  broadly,  and  was  guided  by  an 
mage  which  lie  had  in  his  mind  of  what  might  be,  rather  than 
iy  any  exhibition  of  this  external  judgment  which  he  had  ever 
ieen,  or  could  appeal  to  as  an  example.  A  synod  of  real 
dints  might  be  confidently  looked  to,  as  decreeing  under  the 
Humiliation  of  a  light  from  above.  But  when  has  such  a  synod 
net  since  the  council  of  Jerusalem  ?  (Acts  xv.  1 — 31.)  If,  as 
t  is  probable,  there  be  real  saints  in  the  council,  who  is  to 
nsure  their  being  the  majority?  Whilst  great  respect,  there- 
ore,  is  due  to  a  judgment  of  this  kind,  it  cannot  be  that  infal- 
ible  one,  which  Luther's  commendations  might  seem  to  imply. 


PART  ir.  confute  the  gainsayers.  I  have  called  this  above 
--  '  the  external  clearness  of  Holy  Scripture/  Our 
assertion  is,  (  Let  all  the  spirits  be  tried  in  the 
face  of  the  Church  at  the  bar  of  Scripture/  For 
it  ought  to  be  a  first  principle,  most  firmly  main 
tained  amongst  Christians,  that  the  Holy  Scrip 
tures  are  a  spiritual  light,  far  brighter  than  the 
sun  ;  especially  in  those  things  which  pertain  to 
salvation,  or  are  necessary. 

SEC.XIII.       But,  since  we  have  now  for  a  long  time  been 
persuaded  to  a  contrary  opinion  by  that  pestilent 
the  Sophists,  '  That  the  Scriptures  are 

ture  prov-  obscure  and  ambiguous;'  I  am  compelled,  in  the 
ed.bytesti-  first  place,  to  prove  that  very  first  principle  of 
fronTthe  ours,  by  which  all  the  rest  are  to  be  proved  :  — 
Old  Testa-  what  would  to  philosophers  appear  absurd  and 
ment-  impossible. 

First,  then,  Moses  says  (Deut.  xvii.  8),  that,  if 
any  difficult  cause  should  arise,  they  must  go  up 
to  the  place  which  God  hath  chosen  for  his  name, 

It  is  not  strictly  parallel  to  the  '  external  clearness'  of  Scrip 
ture  ;  which  he  refers  to,  as  asserted,  Part  i.  Sect.  iv.  The 
testimony  may  be  imperfectly  brought  out  ;  or  the  judges  may 
not  have  eyes  to  see  it.  Would  Luther  undertake  to  say,  that 
he  should  himself  bring  all  the  testimony  that  is  in  the  Scrip 
tures,  to  bear  upon  any  given  question  ;  or  would  he,  had  he 
been  able  to  cite  it,  have  convinced  the  Council  of  Constance, 
or  the  Council  of  Trent  ?  After  all,  the  private  and  internal 
judgment  which  he  speaks  of  ;  the  Spirit  shining  upon  and  con 
firming  his  testimony  by  the  word,  is  that  which  the  spiritual 
man  must,  and  will,  at  last  resort  to,  and  can  alone  depend 
upon.  He  is  thankful  for,  and  in  some  sense  obedient  to,  the 
judgment  of  pure  synods  (pure  as  such  compounds  can  be  ex 
pected  to  be)  ;  but  to  a  higher  Master  he  standeth  or  falleth. 
"  This  I  say  then,  walk  in"  (or  after}  '-'the  spirit."  (Gal.  v.  16.) 
—  Enough  for  Luther's  purpose  may.,  however,  be  admitted.  Let 
all  dogmas  be  brought  to  the  standard  of  Scripture,  publicly  ; 
let  the  leaders  and  counsellors  of  the  people  declare  upon  them, 
stating  the  grounds  of  their  decision.  Such  judgment  will 
have  its  weight,  though  not  paramount  ;  and  it  will  be  mani 
fested  how  slender,  or  how  false,  are  the  foundations  of  error. 
This  object  is  obtained,  in  a  great  degree,  now,  by  the  free 
canvass  which  religious,  as  well  as  other  opinions.,  are  made  to 
submit  tOj  from  the  press. 


and  there  consult  the  Priests,  who  must  judge  it  SEC.XIII. 

according*  to  the  la\v  of  the  Lord.     "  According 

to  the  law  of  the  Lord/'  saith  he.  But  how  shall 
they  judge,  except  the  law  of  the  Lord,  wherewith 
the  people  must  be  satisfied,  were  externally '  most 
plain  ?  Else,  it  were  enough  to  say,  e  They  shall 
judge  according  to  their  own  spirit/  Nay,  the 
truth  is,  that  in  every  civil  government,  all  the 
causes  of  all  the  subjects  are  settled  by  the  laws. 
But  how  could  they  be  settled,  except  the  laws 
were  most  certain,  and  just  like  so  many  shining 
lights  amongst  the  people.  For,  if  the  laws  were 
ambiguous  and  uncertain,  not  only  would  it  be 
impossible  that  any  causes  should  be  decided,  but 
there  could  be  no  certain  standard  of  manners : 
since  laws  are  made  for  this  very  purpose,  that 
the  manners  of  the  people  may  be  regulated  by  a 
certain  model ;  and  the  principles  by  which  causes 
are  to  be  determined,  may  be  defined."1  That 
which  is  to  be  the  standard  and  measure  of  other 
things,  ought  itself  to  be  by  much  the  surest  and 
clearest  of  all  things :  and  such  a  sort  of  thing  is 
the  law.  Now,  if  this  light  and  certainty  in  their 
laws  be  both  necessary,  and  also  conceded  freely 
to  the  whole  world,  by  a  divine  gift,  in  profane 
governments  (which  are  conversant  about  tem 
poral  things) ;  how  is  it  possible,  that  God  should 
not  have  granted  laws  and  rules  of  much  greater 
light  and  certainty  to  his  Christian  people  (his 
chosen,  forsooth) ;  whereby  to  direct  their  own 
iearts  and  lives  individually,  and  to  settle  all  their 
Causes?  since  He  would  have  temporal  things  to 
e  despised  by  his  children  ?  For,  "  if  God  so 

1  Extern^.]  As  opposed  to  a  light  of  the  Spirit,  within  the 

m  Causarum  qucestiones  dejiniantur.']  The  book  of  the  laws  lays 
own  and  recognises  certain  broad  principles,  to  which  the 
lets  of  each  case  are  applied.  These  principles  must  be  de- 
jrminately  fixed,  admitted,  and  perspicuously  affirmed.  '  Stains 
tustf,'  is  the  question  of  fact,  at  issue  ;  ' qucestio  causa;,'  the  law 
rinciple  to  which  it  is  referable. 


PART  ii.   clothe  the  grass,  which  to  day  is,  and  to-morrow  is 

cast  into  the  oven,  how  much  more  shall  he  clothe 

us?" — But  let  us  go  on  to  overwhelm  this  pesti 
lent  saying  of  the  Sophists  with  Scripture. 

The  nineteenth  Psalm  (ver.  8)  says,  et  The 
commandment  of  the  Lord  is  lightsome,  or  pure ; 
enlightening  the  eyes."  I  suppose  that  Avhich 
enlightens  the  eyes,  is  not  obscure,  or  ambi 

So  the  119th  Psalm  (ver.  130)  says,  "The  door 
of  thy  words  enlighteneth ;  it  giveth  understand 
ing  to  thy  little  ones."  Here  he  attributes  to  the 
words  of  God  that  they  are  ( a  door,'  ( a  something 
set  open;'  what  is  exposed  to  the  view  of  all,  and 
enlightens  even  the  little  ones. 

Isaiah  viii.  (ver.  20)  sends  all  questions  to  the 
law  and  to  the  testimony ;  threatening,  that  the 
light  of  the  morning  shall  be  denied  us,  unless 
we  do  so.n 

In  Zech.  ii.°  he  commands  them  to  seek  the 
law  from  the  mouth  of  the  Priest,  as  being  the 
messenger  of  the  Lord  of  Hosts.  Pretty  mes 
senger  or  ambassador  of  the  Lord,  forsooth,  if 
he  speak  those  things  which  are  both  ambiguous 
in  themselves,  and  obscure  to  the  people ;  so 
that  he  is  as  ignorant  of  what  he  speaks,  as  they 
are  of  what  they  hear. 

And  what  is  more  frequently  said  to  the  praise 
of  Scripture,  throughout  the  whole  of  the  Old  Tes 
tament,  and  especially  throughout  that  single  hun 
dred  and  nineteenth  Psalm,  than  that  it  is  in  itself 

11  In  our  version,  it  is  not  a  threat,  but  an  explanation  of  a 
fact :  "  If  they  speak  not  according  to  this  word,  it  is  because 
there  is  no  light  in  them," — A  testimony  equally  conclusive  as 
to  the  clearness  of  the  word  ;  for  how  are  we  to  compare  decla 
rations,  and  ascertain  their  conformity  with  the  written  word, 
if  that  word  be  not  plain  ? 

0  A  false  reference  :  the  wrords  are  found  in  Malachi  ii.  7- 
"  For  the  Priest's  lips  should  keep  knowledge,  and  they  should 
seek  the  law  at  his  mouth  j  for  he  is  the  messenger  of  the  Lord 
of  Hosts." 


a  most  certain  and  a  most  evident  light  ?   For  thus  SEC.XIV. 

he  celebrates  its  clearness,  "  Thy  word  is  a  lamp  

unto  my  feet,  and  a  light  unto  my  paths/'  (v.  105.) 
He  says  not,  '  Thy  Spirit  only  is  a  lamp  unto  my 
feet:'  albeit,  he  assigns  its  office  to  this  also; 
saying,  "  Thy  good  Spirit  shall  conduct  me 
forth p  in  a  right  land."  Thus,  it  is  called  both  a 
'  way'  and  e  a  path;'q  doubtless,  from  its  exceed 
ing  great  certainty. 

Let  us  come  to  the  New  Testament.    Paul  says   Clearness 
(Rom.  i.  2.),  that  the  Gospel  was  promised  by  the  °JrgCllp" 
Prophets  in  the  Holy  Scriptures  :  arid  in  chap.  iii.  proved,  by 
that  the  righteousness  of  faith  was  witnessed  by 
the  law  and  the  Prophets.  (Ver.  21.)     But  what 
sort  of  a  witnessing  was  this,  if  obscure  ?  Nay,  he  Testa- 
not  only  makes  the  Gospel   '  the  word  of  light/  " 
f  the  gospel  of  clearness/  in  all  his  Epistles  ;  but 
does  this  professedly,  and  with  great  abundance 
of  words,  in  2  Cor.  iii.  and  iv.  where  he  reasons 
boastfully  upon  the  clearness,  as  well  of  Moses  as 
of  Christ/ 

Peter  also  says  (2  Peter  i.  19),  "  We  have  a 
very  sure  word  of  prophecy ;  whereunto  ye  do 
well  that  yc  take  heed,  as  unto  a  light  that  shineth 
in  a  dark  place."  Here  Peter  makes  the  word  of 
God  a  clear  lamp,  and  all  other  things  darkness  : 
and  do  we  make  obscurity  and  darkness  of  it  ? 

Christ  so  often  calls  himself  "  the  lio-ht  of  the 


world,"  and  John  the  Baptist  "  a  burning  and  a 
shining  light ;"  not  because  of  the  sanctity  of  their 
lives,  doubtless;  but  because  of  the  word:  just 

p  Deducet.~\  Like  the  •  of  the  Greeks,  expresses  '  the 
escorting'  of  a  person  to  his  home. 

i  Via  et  semita.]  Via,  '  the  broad  carriage-road  ;'  semita, 
'  the  narrow  foot-path.' 

r  Glorio&  dispntat.']  The  Apostle  institutes  a  comparison  (in 
chap  iii.)  between  the  glory  of  the  Gospel  ministry  and  that  of 
Moses ;  shewing  the  superiority  of  the  former.  The  scope  and 
effect  of  the  comparison  is  to  magnify  his  own  office  :  but  the 
clearness  of  both  is  assumed,  as  the  very  basis  of  the  argument ; 
i  clearness,  indicated  in  Moses  by  the  glory  of  his  countenance. 


PART  ii.    as  Paul  calls  the  Philippians  "  bright  lights  of  the 

world;"  "because  ye  hold  fast5  the  word  of  life," 

says  he.    For,  without  the  wo  rd,life  is  uncertain 
and  obscure. 

And  what  are  the  Apostles  about,  when  they 
prove  their  own  preachings  by  the  Scriptures  ?  Is 
it,  that  they  may  darken  their  own  darkness  to  us, 
by  greater  darkness?  or,  is  it  to  prove  the  more 
known  thing  by  one  more  unknown  ?  What  is 
Christ  about,  in  John  v.  (ver.  39.)  when  he  teaches 
the  Jews  to  search  the  Scriptures ;  as  being  his 
witnesses,  forsooth  ?  Is  it  that  he  may  render 
them  doubtful  about  the  faith  of  him?*  What  are 
those  persons  about,  in  Acts  xviii.  (ver.  2.)  who, 
on  hearing  Paul,  read  the  Scriptures  day  and 
night,  to  see  whether  those  things  were  so  ?  Do 
not  all  these  things  prove,  that  the  Apostles,  as 
well  as  Christ  himself,  appeal  to  the  Scriptures,  as 
the  clearest  witnesses  to  the  truth  of  their  dis 
courses  ?  With  what  face,  then,  do  we  represent 
them  as  obscure  ? 

I  beg  to  know,  whether  these  words  of  Scrip 
ture  are  obscure  or  ambiguous,  "  God  created  the 
heavens  and  the  earth  ;"  "  and  the  word  was  made 
flesh ;"  and  all  those  affirmations  which  the  whole 
wrorld  has  received  as  articles  of  faith  :  and 
whence  received  them,  but  from  the  Scriptures? 
And  what  are  those  about,  who  preach  still  to  this 
day?  Do  they  interpret  and  declare"  the  Scrip- 

s  Our  translation  says  "  holding  forth;"  Luther  says  "  tene- 
tis :"  the  original  word  is  eVe^i/res-  '  exhibeo,'  '  prse  me  fero.' 
But  it  must  be  possessed,  before  it  can  be  held  forth  ;  and,  if 
on  this  account  they  be  called  "  lights,"  what  must  the  word 
itself  be  ? 

1  Dejide  sui.~]  If  these  witnesses  were  doubtful,  not  clear ; 
he  would  be  justifying  them  in  their  unbelief,  instead  of 
establishing  his  claim  to  be  received. 

u  Declarant.']  '  Make  clear,'  or  '  cause  to  be  seen  ;'  it  refers 
to  the  matter  of  Scripture,  as  inlerpretantur  does  to  the  meaning 
of  the  terms  :  an  '  avowing,'  '  propounding,'  or  '  distinctly  set 
ting  forth  to  the  world,'  of  the  testimony,  or  truth  of  God, 
which  is  contained  ami  shut  up  in  the  Scriptures. 


tures?  If  the  Scripture,  which  they  declare,  be  ob-  SEC.XIV. 
scure;  who  is  to  assure  us,  that  even  this  decla 
ration  of  it  is  certain?  Another  new  declaration? 
What  shall  declare  that  also  ?  At  this  rate, 
we  shall  have  an  endless  progression.  In  fine,  if 
Scripture  be  obscure  or  doubtful,  what  need  was 
there  for  it  to  be  declared  to  us  by  God  from 
heaven?  Aw  vf  r'r>f  "vffirjfilltlyliflhfifini'ft  'HI 'I 
ambiguous,  ^illiout  having  our  obscurity,  ambi- 
gujty^_and  darkness  increased  to  us  from  heaven  ? 
What  will  then  become  of  that  saying  of  the  Apos 
tle,  "  All  Scripture,  having  been  given  by  inspi 
ration  of  God,  is  profitable  for  teaching,  for 
reproving,  and  for  convincing?"  (2  Tim.  iii.  16.) 
Nay,  it  is  absolutely  useless,  Paul !  and  what 
thou  attributest  to  Scripture  must  be  sought  from 
the  Fathers,  who  have  been  received  for  a  long 
series  of  ages,  and  from  the  Roman  see !  Thy 
sentence,  therefore,  must  be  revoked,  which  thou 
writest  to  Titus,  "  That  a  bishop  must  be  mighty 
in  sound  doctrine,  that  he  may  be  able  both  to 
exhort  and  to  refute  the  gainsayers,  and  to  stop  the 
mouth  of  vain- talkers  and  soul-deceivers."  How 
shall  he  be  mighty,  when  thou  leavest  him  the 
Scriptures  obscure  ;  that  is,  arms  of  flax  ;  and,  for 
a  sword,  light  stubble  ?  Then  must  Christ  also 
recant  his  own  word,  who  falsely  promises  us,  "  I 
will  give  you  a  mouth  and  wisdom,  which  all  your 
'adversaries  shall  riot  be  able  to  resist."  How 
shall  they  not  resist,  when  we  fight  against  them 
with  obscure  and  uncertain  weapons? — Why  dost 
thou  also  prescribe  a  form  of  Christianity  to  us, 
if  the  Scriptures  are  obscure  to  thee? 

But  I  think  I  have  long  been  burdensome,  even 
to  men  of  no  sensibility,  in  making  so  long  delay, 
and  so  wasting  my  forces'  on  a  proposition  which 
is  most  evident.  But  it  was  necessary  to  over- 

Tantas  moras  traho  et  copias  perdu."]    His  '  copise'  are  his 
kripture  testimonies  ami  reasonings. 



PART  II.   whelm  that  impudent   and   blasphemous    saying, 
-  (  The  Scriptures   are    obscure  ;'    that  you    also 
might  see,  my  Erasmus,  what  it  is  you  say,  when 
you  deny  the  Scripture  to  be  quite   clear.     For 
you  must,  at  the  same  time,  assent  to  me,  that  all 
your  saints,  whom  you  adduce,  are  much  less  clear. 
For  who  shall  assure  us  of  their  light,  if  you  make 
out  the  Scriptures  to  be  obscure  ?     So  that  those, 
who  deny  the  Scriptures   to   be   most  clear  and 
most  evident/  leave  us  nothing  but  darkness. 
SEC.  xv.        jjut  here  you  will  say,  e  All  this  is  nothing  to 
~~"  me;  I  do  not  say  that  the  Scriptures  are  obscure 
upon  all  subjects  (for  who  would  be  mad  enough 

if  the  dog-  to  say  so?);  but  only  on  this,  and  the  like/  My 
freewill  answer  is;  neither  do  I  assert  these  things  in 
be  obscure,  opposition  to  you  only,  but  in  opposition  to  all 
"1  W^°  th*1^  as  y°u  do.  And  again:  in  opposition 
to  you  distinctly;  I  affirm,  with  respect  to  the 
whole  Scripture,  that  I  will  not  allow  any  part  of 
it  to  be  called  obscure.  What  I  have  cited  from 
Peter  stands  good  here  ;  that  "  the  word  of  God 
is  a  lamp  shining  to  us  in  a  dark  place."  y  Now, 
if  there  be  a  part  of  this  lamp  which  shineth  not; 
it  will  become  part  of  the  dark  place,  rather  than 
of  the  lamp  itself.  Christ  has  not  so  enlightened 
us,  as  wilfully  to  leave  some  part  of  his  word 
dark;  when  he,  at  the  same  time,  commands  us  to 
give  heed  to  it:  for  in  vain  he  commands  us  to 
give  heed,  if  it  doth  not  shine. 

So  that,  if  the  dogma  of  Freewill  be  obscure 
or  ambiguous;  it  belongeth  not  to  Christians  and 
to  the  Scriptures,  and  should  be  altogether  aban- 

x  Lucidissimas  et  evidentissimas.~]  Luc.  '  their  testimony  un 
equivocal;'  evid.  '  the  terms  in  which  that  testimony  is  con 
veyed,  unambiguous.'  —  So  that  they  may  be  compared  to  some 
of  those  beautiful  orbs  above  us  ;  which  are  not  only  luminous, 
but  exposed  to  view. 

y  See  above,  Sect.  xiv.  Stat  ibi.  '  qui  vigent,'  '  in  statu  suo 
manent,'  '  incolumes  sunt/  '  dignitatem  suam  retinent  ;'  non- 
nunquam  stare  dicuntur  :  opposed  to  '  concido  3'  '  loses  none 
of  its  authority  here.' 


doned,  and  ranked  amongst  those  fables,  which  SEC.XVI. 

Paul  condemns  Christians  for  wrangling1  about/'   

For,  if  it  belong  to  Christians  and  to  the  Scrip 
tures,  it  ought  to  be  clear,  open,  and  evident,  and 
just  like  all  the  oilier  articles  of  the  faith  :  which 
are  most  evident.  For,  all  the  articles,  which 
Christians  receive,  ought  not  only  to  be  most  cer 
tain  to  themselves,  but  also  fortified  against  the 
assaults  of  other  men,  by  such  manifest  and  clear 
Scriptures,  that  they  shut  every  man's  mouth 
from  having  power  to  say  any  thing  against  them : 
as  Christ  says  in  his  promise,  "  I  will  give  you  a 
mouth  and  wisdom,  which  all  your  adversaries 
shall  not  be  able  to  resist."  If,  therefore,  our 
mouth  be  so  weak  in  the  behalf  of  this  dogma, 
that  our  adversaries  can  resist  it ;  what  he  says  is 
false,  that  no  adversary  can  resist  our  mouth.  So 
that,  we  shall  either  meet  with  no  adversaries, 
whilst  maintaining  the  dogma  of  Freewill  (which 
will  be  the  case  if  it  does  not  belong  to  us) ;  or,  if 
it  do  belong  to  us,  we  shall  have  adversaries,  it  is 
true ;  but  they  shall  be  such  as  cannot  resist  us. 

But  this  inability  of  the  adversaries  to  resist  Meaning 
(since  the  mention  of  it  has  occurred  here)  con-  a"^  ex?m~ 
sisteth   not  in  their  being  compelled  to  abandon  Sf  the  pro- 
their  own  humour/  or  being  persuaded  either  to  niise>  'Ail 

z  Christianis  r'ucaniibus.']  Luther  does  not  appear  to  refer  to 
any  single  text  explicitly,  but  to  the  many  warnings  of  this 
kind,  which  are  dispersed  throughout  the  Epistles  to  Timothy 
and  Titus.  The  nearest  references  seem  to  be,  1  Tim.  i.  4,  6'. 
("Neither  give  heed  to  fables  and  endless  genealogies,  which 
minister  questions  rather  than  godly  edifying,  which  is  in 
faith.".  ..."  From  which  some  having  swerved,  have  turned 
aside  unto  vain  jangling.")  2  Tim.  ii.  23.  ("  But  foolish  and 
unlearned  questions  avoid,  knowing  that  they  do  gender  strifes.") 
And  Titus  iii.  9.  ("  But  avoid  foolish  questions,  and  genealo 
gies,  and  contentions,  and  strivings  about  the  law ;  for  they 
are  unprofitable  and  vain.") 

a  ,SY/wi  suo  cedere.~\     '  Sensus  '    is   properly,   '  the  frame  of 

thought,  or  of  feeling,'  whatever  that  be  ;   '  the  state  of  mind.' 

Communis  sensus,'  which   follows  just  below,  is   properly, 

the   common  judgment,   or   feeling,   of  mankind  $'    and   is 



PART  ir.  confess  or  to  be  silent.     For  who  shall  compel 

• the  unwilling  to  believe,  to  confess  their  error, 

youradyer-  or  |o  j^  s]}eilt  ?     What  is  more  loquacious  than 

sanes  shall  ..  .  OT»JJ_I-  JT      • 

not  be  able  vanity,  says  Augustine  I — rSut  their  mouth  is  so 
to  resist.'  far  stopped,  that  they  have  nothing  to  say  in 
reply ;  and,  though  they  say  much  in  reply,  yet, 
in  the  judgment  of  common  sense,  they  say 
nothing.  This  is  best  shewn  by  examples.  When 
Christ  had  put  the  Sadducees  to  silence  (Matt. 
xxii.  23 — 32.),  by  citing  Scripture,  and  proving 
the  resurrection  of  the  dead  from  the  words  of 
Moses  (Exod.  iii.  6.),  "  I  am  the  God  of  Abra 
ham,  &c." "  He  is  not  the  God  of  the  dead,  but 

of  the  living — "  upon  this,  they  could  not  resist,  or 
say  any  thing  in  reply.  But  did  they,  therefore, 
recede  from  their  opinion  ? — And,  how  often  did 
he  confute  the  Pharisees,  by  the  most  evident 
Scriptures  and  arguments ;  so  that  the  people 
clearly  saw  them  convicted,  and  they  themselves 
perceived  it?  Still,  however,  they  continued  his 
adversaries.  Stephen,  in  Acts  vii.b  so  spake, 
according  to  Luke,  that  (C  they  were  not  able  to 
resist  the  wisdom  and  the  Spirit  which  spake  in 
him."  But  what  was  their  conduct?  Did  they 
yield  ?  So  far  from  it,  being  ashamed  to  be  over 
come,  and  having  no  power  to  resist,  they  go  mad; 
and,  stopping  their  eyes  and  ears,  suborn  false 
witnesses  against  him.  (Acts  vi.  1 0 — 14.)  See  how 
he  stands  before  the  council,  and  confutes  his 

thence  transferred  to  express  a  certain  imaginary  standard  of 
judgment,  or  court  of  appeal,  the  voice  of  unadulterated  and 
unsophisticated  nature,  which  \ve  call  '  common  sense.' 

b  This  should  be  Acts  vi.  (v.  1O.)  There  is  a  good  deal  of 
confusion  in  Luther's  reference  to  this  history,  lie  represents 
the  violence  with  which  they  rushed  upon  him  at  the  close  of 
his  defence  (especially  when  he  had  testified  '  that  he  saw  the 
heavens  opened,  and  the  Son  of  man  standing-  on  the  right 
hand  of  God'),  as  having  been  expressed  before  his  apprehension 
and  arraignment,  and  refers  the  whole  transaction  to  Acts  vii. ; 
of  which  the  first  incidents  are  recorded  in  the  preceding 


adversaries!     After  having  enumerated  the  bene-  SEC.XVI. 

fits  which  God  had  bestowed  upon  tliat  people,  

from  their  origin,  and  having  proved  that  God  had 
never  ordered  a  Temple  to  be  built  to  him  (for  on 
this  charge  he  was  tried,  and  this  was  the  point  of 
fact  at  issue);0  he  at  length  concedes,  that  a  Temple 

c  Ecus  agebaturJ]  Re.  ag. '  lie  was  arraigned ; '  ed  qucestione,  '  on 
this  indictment  3'  this  was  the  law-crime  charged :  status 
causa1,  'the  question  of  fact  to  be  tried.' — Luther  intimates,  that 
his  address  to  the  council  is  resolvable  into  this  main  subject ; 
'  a  defence  against  the  charge  of  having  blasphemed  the  Temple.' 
Such  being  the  charge  preferred  against  him,  he  repelled  it,  by 
maintaining  that  it  was  nothing  criminal  to  speak  against  the 
Temple  ;  for  that  was  not  God's  ordinance.  Probably,  he  had 
been  led  by  the  Holy  Ghost,  to  aim  at  beating  down  the  idola 
trous  attachment  which  the  Jews  shewed  to  their  Temple,  in  his 
reasonings  with  those  who  arose  and  disputed  with  him.  But 
it  is  expressly  said,  "  they  suborned  men  which  said,  We  have 
heard  him  Speak  blasphemous  words  against  Moses,  and 
against  God."  (Acts  vi.  11.)  And  afterwards  ;  "And  set  up 
false  witnesses,  which  said,  This  man  ceaseth  not  to  speak 
blasphemous  words  against  this  holy  place,  and  the  law." 
(Acts  vi.  13.) — It  should  seem,  therefore,  that  more  was  charged 
against  him,  with  respect  to  this  blasphemy,  than  he  had 
really  spoken. — Perhaps  his  defence ;  or,  as  I  would  rather  call 
it,  his  address ;  may  be  correctly  said  to  have  had  a  broader 
basis  than  that  of  merely  repelling  a  charge  of  having  blas 
phemed  the  Temple  ;  viz.  that  of  proving,  that  the  great  body 
of  their  nation  had  always  been  "  registers  "  of  the  Holy  Ghost ; 
and  by  inference,  therefore,  that  they  were  such  now,  in  what 
they  had  done  to  Jesus.  From  the  Patriarchs  downwards, 
their  plans  and  efforts  had  always  been  in  direct  opposition  to 
the  counsel  and  purpose  of  God,  as  declared  to  them  by  those 
in  whom  the  Holy  Ghost  spake.  (See  Heb.  i.  1,  C2.  Gr.) 
Whatever  was  the  accusation,  and  however  he  might  design  to 
repel  it,  the  clue  to  his  discourse  seems  to  be  found  in 
vv.  51 — 53.  "  Ye  stiffnecked  and  uncircurncised  in  heart  and 
ears,  ye  do  always  resist  the  Holy  Ghost" — (not  as  striving  hi 
their  own  souls,  but  as  testifying  in  those  whom  God  sent  to  be 
his  instruments  for  drawing  out  the  enmity  of  their  carnal 
mind) — "as  your  fathers  did,  so  do  ye." — On  this  broader  basis, 
however,  he  contrives  to  build  an  answer  to  his  own  peculiar 
charge  respecting  the  Temple ;  by  shewing,  that  this  very 
Temple  furnished  one  proof  of  their  resistance  to  the  Holy 
Ghost — their  idolized  Temple  had  not  originated  from  God,  but 
was  man's  device.  It  was,  in  fact,  David's  own  suggestion, 
which  he  was  forbidden  to  execute  ;  and  was  rather  acquiesced 
in,  than  appointed  of  God  (just  as  in  the  former  case  of  appointing 


PART  ii.  had  indeed  been  bnilt   to   him,  under  Solomon. 

But  then  he  abates  the  force  of  his  concession/1 

by  subjoining  after  this  manner;  "  Howbeit  the 
Most  High  dwelleth  not  in  temples  made  with 
hands  :"  and,  in  proof  of  this,  he  alleges  the  last 
chapter  of  the  Prophet  Isaiah,  "  What  house  is 
this  that  ye  build  unto  me?"  (Isa.  Ixvi.  1.)  Tell 
me,  what  could  they  say  now,  against  so  plain  a 
Scripture  ?  But  they,  nothing  moved  by  it,  re 
mained  fixed  in  their  own  sentiment.  Which 
leads  him  to  inveigh  against  them  also:6  "Ye 
uncircumcised  in  heart  and  ears,  ye  do  always 
resist  the  Holy  Ghost."  '  They  resist/  he  says  ; 
whereas,  in  point  of  fact,  they  were  not  able  to 

Let  us  come  to  the  men  of  our  day/  When 
John  Huss  disputes  after  this  manner  against  the 
Pope,  from  Matt.  xvi.  18,  &c.  "The  gates  of  hell 
prevail  not  against  my  Church."  (Is  there  any 

a  king,  1  Sam.  viii — xii.)  ;  when  the  honour  of  building  it  was 
appropriated  to  Solomon.  (2  Sam.  vii.  1  Chron.  xvii.)  God's 
Temple  (not  only  the  spiritual  one,  but  the  material  fabric  also) 
was  deferred  till  the  latter  times  (Ezek.  xl. — xlviii)  ;  and  Solo 
mon's  was  but  an  abortive  birth,  arising  from  the  precocity  of 
man  :  the  Lord  giving  way,  as  it  were,  to  man's  device, 
that  he  might  shew  him  its  instability  and  vanity.  Go( 
instituted  a  tabernacle  ("Our  fathers  had  the  tabernacle  of  wit 
ness  in  the  wilderness,  as  he  had  appointed,  speaking  unU 
Moses,  that  he  should  make  it  according  to  the  fashion  that  he 
had  seen."  Acts  vii.  44.  &c.  &c.J — a  fabric  more  suited  to  the 
then  stote  of  his  Church  and  nation — but  the  well-meaning 
vanity  of  his  aspiring  worshippers,  would  have  a  stately  temple 
as  if  walls  and  roofs  could  contain  him  !  "  Howbeit  the  Most 
High  &c." 

d  Subsumit.~]  I  do  not  find  any  authority  for  this  word  ;  but 
taking  the  general  principle  of  the  preposition  sub,  when  uset 
in  composition  (secretly,  diminutively) ;  the  amplification  in  the 
text  seems  most  nearly  to  express  the  author's  meaning. 

'  Tandem  concedit At  ibi  subsumit  :'  subs,  implies  '  a 

secret,  or  partial,  retraction  of  his  concession.' 

0  Unde  et  in  eos.~\     In  contradistinction  to  their  fathers. 

f  The  Council  of  Constance,  A.  D.  1415.  was  Luther's  day, 
and  even  our  day,  as  compared  with  that  of  Christ  and  his  first 


obscurity   or  ambiguity   in   these  words  ?)     But  sc.  xvn. 

against  the  Pope,  and  his  abettors,  the  gates  of 

hell  do  prevail  ;  since  they  are  notorious  for  their 
manifest  impiety  and  wickednesses  all  the  world 
over.  (Is  this  also  obscure  ?)  Therefore  the 
Pope  and  his  partisans  are  not  that  Church  of 
which  Christ  speaks. — What  could  they  hereupon 
say  against  him;  or  how  could  they  resist  the 
mouth,  which  Christ  had  given  him  ?  Yet  they 
did  resist,  and  persevered  in  their  resistance,  till 
they  burnt  him  :  so  far  were  they  from  altering 
their  mind.  Nor  does  Christ  suppress  this,  when 
he  says,  '  the  adversaries  shall  not  be  able  to 
resist/  They  are  adversaries,  says  he  ;  therefore 
they  will  resist.  If  they  did  not  resist,  they 
would  not  be  adversaries,  but  friends ;  and  yet 
they  shall  not  be  able  to  resist.  What  is  this, 
but  to  say,  that,  resisting,  they  shall  not  be  able  to 

Now,  if  we  also  shall  be  able  so  to  confute  Free-  We  must 
will,  as  that  our  adversaries  cannot  resist ;   even  ^e.  cont.ent 
though  they  retain  their  own  humour,  and,  in  spite  Tort^vic- 
of  conscience,  hold  fast  their  resistance ;  we  shall  tol>y-    Our 
have  done  enough.     For  I  have  had  abundant  ex-  *&%£* 
perience,  that  no  man  chooses  to  be  conquered ;  confess 
and,   as  Quintilian  says,  '  there  is  no  one  who  Jimself 
would  not  rather  seem  to   know,    than   to   be   a 
learner :'  although  it  be  a  sort  of  proverb  in  every 
body's  mouth   amongst   us    (from   use,   I  should 
rather  say  abuse,  more  than  affection),  '  I  wish  to 
learn  ;    1   am   ready   to   be   taught ;  and,    when 
taught  better  things,  to  follow  them.     I  am  a  man; 
I  may  err.3     The  truth  is,  men  use  such  expres 
sions  as  these,  because,  under  this  fair  mask,  as 
under  a  shew  of  humility,   they  are  allowed  con 
fidently   to  say,  (I  am  not  satisfied;  I  do  not 
understand  him ;  he  does  violence  to  the  Scrip 
tures;  he  is  an  obstinate  assertor:'  because  they 
are  sure,  forsooth,  that  no  one  can  suspect  such 


TART  ii.  humble  souls,  as  theirs,  of  being  pertinacious  in 

their  resistance  to  truth ;  and  of  making  a  stout 

attack  upon  her,  when  now  they  have  even  recog 
nised  her  presence/  So  then,  it  ought  not  to  be 
ascribed  to  their  own  perverseness,  that  they  keep 
their  old  mind;  but  to  the  obscurity  and  ambiguity 
of  the  arguments,  with  which  they  are  assailed. 

This  was  just  the  conduct  of  the  Greek  philo 
sophers  also :  that  none  of  them  might  seem  to 
yield  to  another,  even  though  manifestly  over 
come,  they  began  to  deny  first  principles  •  as 
Aristotle  recites.  Meanwhile,  we  kindly  persuade 
ourselves  and  others,  that  there  are  many  good 
men  in  the  world,  who  would  be  willing  to  em 
brace  the  truth,  if  they  had  but  a  teacher  who 
could  make  things  plain  to  them;  and  that  it  is 
not  to  be  presumed,  that  so  many  learned  men, 
through  such  a  series  of  ages,  have  been  in  error, 
or  that  they  have  not  thoroughly  understood  the 
truth.  As  if  we  did  not  know,  that  the  world  is 
the  kingdom  of  Satan :  in  which,  besides  the 
blindness  adherent  as  a  sort  of  natural  excres 
cence  to  our  flesh,  spirits  even  of  the  most  mis 
chievous  nature  having  dominion  over  us,  we  are 
hardened  in  that  very  blindness ;  and  now  no 
longer  held  in  chains  of  mere  human  darkness, 
but  of  a  darkness  imposed  upon  us  by  devils, 
sc.xvm.  'If  the  Scriptures  then  be  quite  clear,  why  have 

men  of  excellent  understanding,  you  say,  been  for 

Why  great  go  manv  ao;es  blind  upon  this  subiect?'    I  answer, 

ircniuscs  ^  •*  " 

have  been  '  they  have  been  thus  blind,  unto  the  praise  and 
Mind  about  glory  of  Freewill :  that  this  magnificently  boasted 
TiaTthat  power,  by  which  man  is  able  to  apply  himself  to 
they  might  those  things  which  concern  his  everlasting  salva- 

s  Pertinacitcr  resistcrc,fortiier  impugnare.']  The  unsuspected 
case  was  the  real  case  :  notwithstanding  all  his  ostentatious 
professions  of  humility,  Erasmus  was  not  only  rejecting-  clearest 
evidences  of  truth — which  is  bad  enough — but  even  lighting 
against  what  he  knew  to  be  truth — which  is  far  worse. 


tion;  this  power,  I  say,  which  neither  sees  what  sc.xvin. 
it  sees,  nor  hears  what  it  hears — much  less  under 
stands   or   seeks    after   these  things  ;   might    be 
shewn  to  be  what  it  is.    For  to  this  belongs,  what  But  no 
Christ  and  his  Evangelists  so  often  assert  from  wonder, 
Isaiah,  "  Hearing,  ye  shall   hear   and  shall    not  natural 
understand ;  and  seeing,  ye  shall  see  and  shall  not  man  is 
perceive."     What  does  this  mean,  but  that  the 
free  will,  or  human  heart,  is  so  trodden  under  foot  of  God. 
of  Satan,  that,  except  it  be  miraculously1' raised 
up  by  the  Spirit  of  God,  it  cannot  of  itself  either 
see  or  hear  those  things  which   strike  upon  the 
very  eyes  and  ears,   so   manifestly   as  to  be  pal 
pable  to  the  hand :  such  is  the  misery  and  blind 
ness  of  the  human  race.     For  it  is  thus,  that  even 
the  Evangelists  themselves,  after  expressing  their 
wonder  how  it  should  happen  that  the  Jews  were 
not  taken  with  the  works  and  words  of  Christ — 
which  were  absolutely  irresistible  and  undeniable — 
reply   to   their   own   expressions  of  wonder,  by 
citing  this  passage  of  Scripture  :'  by  suggesting, 
forsooth,  that  man,  left  to  himself,  seeing  sees  not, 
and  hearing  hears  not.     What  can  be  more  mar 
vellous  ?     "  The   light,"    saith    he,    "  shineth   in 
darkness,  and  the  darkness  apprehendeth  it  not." 

h  Mirabiliter  suscitetur.']  Mir.  would  express  either  the  na 
ture  or  the  degree  of  influence  exerted  ;  but  here  it  must  be  the 
nature :  the  very  least  degree  of  the  Holy  Ghost's  regenerating 
energy,  applied  to  the  natural  soul,  produces  this  result ;  an 
energy  which  admits  not  of  degrees.  One  soul  is  not  more 
regenerated  than  another  :  and  every  such  act  of  regeneration 
is  a  miracle  ;  an  exercise  of  super-creation  grace  and  of  super 
natural  power,  effecting  a  supernatural  constitution  and  state, 
in  those  that  are  the  subjects  of  it.  "  Except  a  man  be  begotten 
from  above,  he  cannot  see  the  kingdom  of  God."  "Except  a. 
man  be  begotten  of  water  and  of  the  Spirit,  he  cannot  enter 
into  the  kingdom  of  God."  "  Of  his  own  will  begat  he  us  by  the 
word  of  truth."  "Everyone  that  doeth  righteousness  hath 
been  begotten  of  him." 

1  See  especially  John  xii.  3? — 41.  It  is  remarkable  that  this 
passage  of  Isaiah  is  quoted  more  often  than  any  other  in  the 
New  Testament ;  being  found  in  each  of  the  Evangelists,  in 
Acts  xxviii,  and  in  Horn.  xi. 


PART  ii.  (John  i.  5.k)  Who  would  believe  this?  who 
ever  heard  the  like?  that  the  light  shineth  in 
darkness;  and  yet  the  darkness  remains  darkness, 
and  is  not  made  light  ? 

Besides,  it  is  nothing  wonderful,  that  men  of 
excellent  understanding  have  for  so  many  ages 
been  blind  in  divine  things.  In  human  things,  it 
would  be  wonderful.  In  divine  things,  the  wonder 
rather  is,  if  one  or  two  be  not  blind  ;  whilst  it  is 
no  wonder  at  all,  if  all,  without  exception,  be 
blind.  For  what  is  the  whole  human  race,  without 
the  Spirit,  but  the  kingdom  of  the  devil,  as  I  have 
said ;  a  confused  chaos  of  darkness  ?  Whence 
Paul  calls  the  devils,  "  the  rulers  of  this  dark 
ness  ;"  and  says  (1  Cor.  ii.  8.),  "  None  of  the 
princes  of  this  world  knew  the  wisdom  of  God !" 
What  do  you  suppose  that  he  thought  of  the  rest, 
when  he  asserts  that  the  princes  of  the  world  were 
slaves  of  darkness  ?  For,  by  princes,  he  means 
the  first  and  highest  persons  in  the  world :  whom 
you  call  men  of  excellent  understanding.  Why 
were  all  the  Arians  blind  ?  Were  there  not, 
amongst  them,  men  of  excellent  understanding  ? 
Why  is  Christ  "foolishness"  to  the  Gentiles?1  Are 
there  not  amongst  the  Gentiles  men  of  excellent 
understanding?  Why  is  he  to  the  Jews  "  a  stum 
bling-block?"  Have  there  not  been  amongst  the 
Jews  men  of  excellent  understanding?  "God 
knoweth  the  thoughts  of  the  wise,"  says  Paul; 

k  Apprehendunt .~]  More  proper  than  our  version  'compre 
hend  ;'  which  implies  '  compassing  about/  and  so  (trans- 
latively)  '  taking  in  the  whole  of  a  substance  :'  ov  Ka-rc\aftcv 
av-ro-  '  did  not  lay  hold  of  it,  so  as  to  possess  it;'  '  did  not 
receive,'  or  'admit'  the  'light;'  but  (as  Luther  explains  it) 
remained  darkness  still.  See  Sleusner  in  v.  KcwaXa/afidvw 
'  excipio,'  '  admitto.' 

1  1  Cor.  i.  23.  Our  authorized  version,  and  most  copies, 
read  "  Greeks  :"  by  which  St.  Paul  frequently  denominates 
that  part  of  the  world  which  is  not  Jewish  ;  as  Rom.  i.  16. 
It  would  seem  to  give  more  point  to  Luther's  antithesis  here : 
but  "  Gentiles  "  is  the  more  authentic  reading.  See  Gries- 
bach's  text  and  note  in  loc. 


"  for  they   are  vain."     He  would  not  say,  "  of  sc.xvin. 

?nen,"  as  the  text  itself  has  it;"1  but  singles  out  

6  the  first  and  chiefest  amongst  men :'  that  from 
these  we  may  estimate  the  rest  of  them. 

But  I  shall  perhaps  speak  more  at  large  of  these 
things,  hereafter.  Suffice  it,  for  an  exordium,  to 
have  premised  '  that  the  Scriptures  are  most 
clear ;'  and  '  that,  by  these  our  dogmas  may  be 
so  defended,  as  that  our  adversaries  shall  not  be 
able  to  resist/  Those  dogmas,  which  cannot  be 
so  defended,  are  other  people's;  and  do  not  belong 
to  Christians.  Now,  if  there  be  those  who  do  riot 
see  this  clearness,  and  are  blind,  or  stumble,  in  this 
sunshine  ;  these,  on  the  supposition  that  they  are 
ungodly  men,  shew  how  great  is  the  majesty  and 
power  of  Satan  in  the  sons  of  men:  even  such,  that 
they  neither  hear  nor  apprehend  the  clearest 
words  of  God.  Just  as  if  a  man,  beguiled  by 
some  sleight  of  hand  trick,  should  suppose  the 
sun  to  be  a  piece  of  unlighted  coal,  or  should 
imagine"  a  stone  to  be  gold!  On  the  supposi 
tion  that  they  are  godly  persons,  let  them  be 
reckoned  amongst  those  of  the  elect,  who  are  led 
into  error  some  little,  that  the  power  of  God  may 
be  shewn  in  us  :  without  which,  we  can  neither  see, 
nor  do  any  thing  at  all.  For,  it  is  not  weakness  of 
intellect  (as  you  complain),  which  hinders  the 
words  of  God  from  being  apprehended :  on  the 
contrary,  nothing  is  more  adapted  to  the  appre 
hension  of  the  words  of  God,  than  weakness  of 
intellect.  For,  it  is  because  of  the  weak,  and  unto 
the  weak,  that  Christ  both  came,  and  also  sends 
his  word.  But  it  is  the  mischievousness  of  Satan, 
who  sits  and  reigns  in  our  weakness,  resisting  the 

m  Psalm  xciv.  1 1 . 

n  Putct,  scnliat.']  Put.  is  rather  matter  of  reasoning  and 
argument ;  sent,  rather  matter  of  sense.  Both  are  intermixed 
here,  though  each  has  its  distinct  appropriation  :  he  thinks 
about  the  sun,  he  handles  the  stone. — A  double  error  is  pointed 
out  by  the  illustration.  These  ungodly  men  assert  what  is  not, 
and  deny  what  is. 


PART  II.   word  of  God.     If  it  were  not  for  this  acting  of 

Satan,  the  whole  world  of  men  would  be  converted 

by  one  single  word  of  God,  once  heard;  nor  would 
there  be  any  need  of  more.0 
sc. xix.       And   why  do  I  plead  long?   why  do  we   not 

finish  the  cause  together  with  this  exordium,   and 

Erasmus  g-ye  sentence  agai  nst  you,  on  the  testimony  of  your 
have  ud-  own  words  ?  according  to  that  saying  of  Christ, 
mittedthat  a  fjy  thy  words  thou  shalt  be  justified,  and  by 
thy  words  thou  shalt  be  condemned."11  (Matt.  xii. 
37.)  You  assert,  '  that  the  Scripture  is  not 
clear  upon  this  point:'  and  then,  as  though  the 
sentence  of  the  judge  were  suspended,  you  dis 
pute  on  both  sides  of  the  question,  advancing  all 
that  can  be  said  both  for  and  against  Freewill. 
This  is  all  that  you  seek  to  gain  by  your  whole  per 
formance  ;  which,  for  the  same  reason,  you  have 
chosen  to  call  a  Diatribe  rather  than  an  Apophasis,q 
or  any  thing  else :  because  you  write  with  the  in 
tention  of  bringing  all  the  materials  of  the  cause 
together,  without  affirming  any  thing.  If  the 
Scripture,  then,  be  not  plain,  how  comes  it  that 
those  of  whom  you  make  your  boast ;  that  is,  so 
numerous  a  series  of  the  most  learned  men,  whom 
the  consent  of  so  many  ages  hath  approved  even 
to  this  very  day ;  are  not  only  blind  upon  this 

0  Luther  does  not  distinguish  here,  as  he  ought  to  do,  be 
tween  what  Satan  has  made  of  us,  and  what  Satan   personally 
does  in  us.     The  soul  of  man,  in  its  natural  state,  is  so  blinded 
and  hardened  and  satanized,  that,  even  if  there  were  no  imme 
diate  agency  of  his  upon  any  individual  soul,  the   effect   of 
fone'  or  even  'many'  words  of  God    (unaccompanied  by  his 
quickening  Spirit)  would  not  be  such  as  Luther  describes  ;  but 
it  would  still  reject  the  truth  ! 

p  A  forced  application  of  the  words.  The  Lord  is  there 
speaking  of  the  words  being  a  sure  index  of  the  mind.  Luther 
seems  to  have  got  some  confusion  into  his  mind,  from  Luke 
xix.  W.  "  Out  of  thine  own  mouth  will  I  judge  thee,  &c." 

1  A  Greek  term,   which  may  express  either  '  affirmation'  or 
'  negation  ;'  but  here   clearly   denotes   the  former  :  with  allu 
sion  cither  to  the   '  explicit  avowal  of  private  opinion  $    or,  to 
f  the  judge  delivering-  his  sentence  in  court.' 


subject,  but  even  rash  and  foolish  enough  to  de-  sc.xix. 

fine  and  assert  Freewill  from   the   Scripture,  as  

though  that  Scripture  were  positive  and  plain. 
The  greater  number  of  these  men  come  recom 
mended  to  us,  you  say,  not  only  by  a  wonderful 
knowledge  of  the  sacred  writings,  but  by  piety  of 
Jife.  Some  of  them,  after  having  defended  the 
doctrine  of  Christ  by  their  writings,  gave  testi 
mony  to  it  with  their  blood.  If  you  say  this  sin 
cerely,  it  is  a  settled  thing  with  you,  that  Freewill 
has  assertors  endowed  with  wonderful  skill  in  the 
Scriptures;  who  have  borne  witness  to  it  as  a  part 
of  Christ's  doctrine  with  their  blood.  If  this  be 
true,  they  must  have  considered  the  Scripture  as 
clear :  else,  how  should  they  be  said  to  possess  a 
wonderful  skill  in  the  sacred  writings?  Besides, 
what  levity  and  temerity  of  mind  would  it  have 
been  in  them,  to  shed  their  blood  for  a  thing  that 
is  uncertain  and  obscure  ?  This  is  not  the  act  of 
Christ's  martyrs,  but  of  devils. 

r  Now,  therefore,  do  you  also  (  set  before  your 
eyes  and  weigh  with  yourself,  whether  you  judge, 
that  more  ought  to  be  attributed  to  the  prior  judg 
ments5  of  so  many  learned  men,  so  many  orthodox 
men,  so  many  holy  men,  so  many  martyrs,  so 
many  ancient  and  modern  theologians,  so  many 
universities,  so  many  councils,  so  many  bishops, 
and  so  many  popes — who  have  thought  the  Scrip 
tures  clear,  and  have  confirmed  their  opinion  by 
their  blood,  as  well  as  by  their  writings — or  to  your 

r  Jam  et  lu  pone.]  Luther  here  retorts  Erasmus's  own  words 
upon  him.  "  Et  tamen  illud  interim  lectorem  admonitum  vclini, 
si  etc. .  .  .ut  turn  denique  sibi  ponat  ob  oculos  tarn  numerosam 
seriem  eruditissimorumvirorumetc.. .  .turn  illud  secumexpendut, 
utrum  plus  tribuendum  esse  judicet  tot  eruditorum,  tot  ortho- 
doxorumetc  ....  prsejucliciis,  an  uniusautalterius  private  judicio.' 

8  Pr&judiciis.~]  A  forensic  term,  expressing  either,  1.  '  prece 
dents  which  apply  to  an  undecided  cause  j'  or,  LZ.  'matters 
relating  to  the  cause  in  hand,  which  have  already  been  decided  ;' 
or,  3.  'a  previous  judgment  of  the  cause  itself;'  as  here. 
These  men  had  sat  in  judgment  upon  this  question  before,  and 
had  decided  it. 


PART  ir.  own  single  judgment — which  is  that  of  a  private 
individual — denying  the  Scriptures  to  be  clear:' 
when,  it  may  be,  you  have  never  sent  forth  one 
tear,  or  one  sigh,  for  the  doctrine  of  Christ.  If 
you  believe  these  men  to  have  thought  correctly, 
why  not  follow  their  example  ?  If  otherwise,  why 
boast  yourself  with  such  a  puffed  cheek  and  such 
a  full  mouth;  as  if  you  would  overwhelm  me  with 
a  sort  of  tempest  and  flood  of  words :  which  falls, 
however,  with  still  greater  force  upon  your  own 
head,  whilst  my  ark  rides  aloft  in  security.  For 
you,  in  the  same  instant,  attribute  the  greatest 
folly  and  temerity  to  these  so  many  and  so  great 
ones ;  when  you  write,  that  they  were  most  skilful 
in  the  Scriptures,  yet  have  asserted  by  their  pen, 
by  their  life,  and  by  their  death,  a  sentiment 
which  you  nevertheless  maintain  to  be  obscure 
and  ambiguous.  What  is  this  but  to  make  them 
most  ignorant  in  knowledge,  and  most  foolish  in 
assertion?  I,  their  private  despiser,  should  never 
have  paid  them  such  honour,  as  you,  their  public 
commender,  do.1 
SEC.  xx.  I  hold  you  fast  then,  here,  by  a  horned  syllogism, 

as  they  call   it:u  for  one  or  other  of  these  two™"s     things  must  be  false ;  either  what  you  say,  (  that 
a  dilemma,  these  men   were  worthy  to  be  admired  for  their 
knowledge  of  the   sacred  writings,  life  and  mar 
tyrdom  -,'  or  what  you  say,  '  that  the  Scripture 
is  not  plain/     But,  since  you  would  rather  choose 

1  Privatus  &c.]  The  substance  is,  '  Insignificant  Luther, 
whom  Erasmus  taunted  with  his  obscurity,  and  with  his  con 
tempt  of  these  great  men  (though,  in  fact,  he  had  only  shaken 
off  the  yoke  of  their  undue  authority,  without  expressing  any 
sentiment  of  contempt),  would  never  have  so  vilified  them  in 
his  privacy,  as  Erasmus — the  man  of  name  and  fame — was 
doing  by  his  public  extolment  of  them.' 

11  Cornuto  sijUogismoJ]  Corn.  syll.  Dilemma  ;  so  called,  be 
cause  the  horns  of  the  argument  are,  in  this  kind  of  syllogism, 
so  disposed,  that  to  escape  the  one  you  must  run  upon  the 
other.  The  term  '  horns'  is  applied  to  argumentation  ;  from 
a  certain  disposition  of  forces,  as  well  naval  as  military,  in 
which  they  resemble  the  horns  of  the  crescent  moon. 


to  be  driven  upon  this  horn  of  the  two,  '  that  the  SEC.XX. 
Scripture  is  not  plain'  (what  you  are  driving  at 
throughout}7 our  whole  book);  it  remains,  that  you 
must  have  pronounced  them  to  be  most  expert  in 
Scripture,  and  martyrs  for  Christ,  either  in  fun  or 
in  flattery — certainly  not  seriously — merely  to 
throw  dust  in  the  eyes  of  the  common  people,  and 
to  give  Luther  trouble,  by  loading-  his  cause  with 
hatred  and  contempt,  through  vain  words.  How 
ever,  I  pronounce  neither  true;  but  both  false. 
I  affirm,  first,  that  the  Scriptures  are  most  clear; 
secondly,  that  those  persons,  so  far  as  they  assert 
Freewill,  are  most  ignorant  of  the  Scriptures; 
thirdly,  that  they  made  this  assertion  neither  with 
their  life,  nor  by  their  death,  but  only  with  their 
pen — and  that,  under  absence  of  mind. 

I  do  therefore  conclude  this  little  disputation/ 
thus.  s  By  Scripture — seeing  that  it  is  obscure — 
nothing  certain  has  yet  been  determined,  or 
can  be  determined,  on  the  subject  of  Freewill ; 
according  to  your  own  testimony/  That,  '  by 
the  lives  of  all  men,  from  the  beginning  of  the 
world,  nothing  has  been  shewn  in  support  of 
Freewill/  is  what  I  have  argued  above.  Now, 
to  teach  any  thing  which  is  neither  enjoined 
by  a  single  word  in  Scripture,  nor  demonstrated 
by  a  single  fact  out  of  Scripture  ;  is  no  part 
of  Christian  doctrine,  but  belongs  to  the  true 
stories  of  Lucian  :x  except  that  Lucian — sporting 
as  he  does,  on  ludicrous  subjects,  in  mere  jest  and 
wittingly — deceives  nobody  and  hurts  nobody.  But 

v  Disputatiunculam.']  Disp.  The  diminutive  implies  '  a  dis 
cussion  subordinate  to  the  main  point  in  debate.' 

x  See  Tart  i.  Sect.  v.  note  fi.  Lucian,  the  Epicurean  philo 
sopher  of  Samosata,  in  Syria,  ridiculed  all  religions ;  and 
served  Christianity,  without  meaning  it,  pretty  much  as 
Erasmus  was  doing — by  depreciating  the  fashionable  and 
reigning  idolatry.  lie  died  wretchedly,  A.  D.  180. — Much  of 
his  writings  is  in  dialogue — Erasmus's  favourite  composition — 
with  which  he  interweaves  many  '  true  stories.,'  of  very  doubt 
ful  credit. 



PART  ii.  these  antagonists  of  ours  play  the  madman  on  a 

serious  subject — even  one  pertaining  to  eternal 

salvation  —  to    the    destruction    of  innumerable 

SEC. xxr.  Thus,  too,,  I  might  have  put  an  end  to  this  whole 
question  about  Freewill ;  since  even  the  testimony 
of  my  adversaries  is  on  my  side,  and  at  war  with 
theirs:  whilst  there  is  no  stronger  proof  against  an 
accused  person,  than  his  own  proper  testimony 
against  himself.  But,  since  Paul  commands  us  to 
stop  the  mouths  of  vain  babblers,  let  us  take  the 
very  pith  and  matter  of  the  cause  in  hand;  treating 
it  in  the  order  in  which  Diatribe  pursues  her 
march.  Thus,  I  will  first  confute  the  arguments 
adduced  in  behalf  of  Freewill ;  secondly,  de 
fend  our  own  confuted  ones ;  and,  at  last,  make 
my  stand  for  the  grace  of  God,  in  direct  conflict 
with  Freewill. 

claims  vic 
tory  al 
ready,  but 
will  pro 





Erasmus's  Definition  of  Freewill  examined. 

...  ('•..<'"!•'  .!."•'!>•.   })'U    /         ::i  I 

AND  first,  as  in  duty  bound,  I  shall  begin  with 
your  very  definition  of  Freewill;  which  is  as 
follows : 

'  Moreover,  by  Freewill  here,  I  mean  that  power 
of  the  human  will,  whereby  a  man  is  able  to  apply 
himself  to  those  things  which  lead  to  eternal  sal 
vation,  or  to  turn  himself  away  from  them/ 

With  great  prudence,  doubtless,  you  lay  down 
a  naked a  definition  here;  without  opening  any 
part  of  it,  as  is  customary  with  others :  afraid  of 
more  shipwrecks  than  one !  I  am,  therefore,  com 
pelled  to  beat  out  the  several  parts  of  it,  for  my 
self.  The  thing  defined,  if  it  be  strictly  examined, 
is  certainly  of  wider  range  than  the  definition  :  it 
is,  therefore,  what  the  Sophists  would  call  a  de 
fective  definition ;  such  being  their  term  for  those 
which  do  not  fill  up  the  thing  defined. b  For  I 
have  shewn  above,  that  Freewill  belongs  to  none 
but  God  only.  You  might,  perhaps  with  pro 
priety,  attribute  will  to  man;  but  to  attribute  free 
will  to  him,  in  divine  things,0  is  too  much :  since 
the  term  Freewill,  in  the  judgment  of  all  ears,  is 

a  Bald  and  bare  ;'  without  any  appendage  of  amplification, 
resolution  of  parts,  or  illustration. 

b  The  idea  is  that  of  a  mould  not  filled  up  :  the  definition  is 
not  commensurate  with  the  thing  defined. 

c  See  Part  i.  Sect  xxv.  note  '. 



PART  in.  properly  applied  to  '  that  winch  can  do,  and  which 

" "  does,'  towards  God,  whatsoever  it  pleases;  without 

being  confined  by  any  law,  or  by  any  command. 
You  would  not  call  a  slave  free,  who  acts  under 
the  command  of  his  master.  With  how  much 
less  propriety  do  we  call  a  man,  or  an  angel,  free  : 
when  they  live  under  the  most  absolute  subjec 
tion  to  God  (to  say  nothing  of  sin  and  death),  so 
as  not  to  subsist  for  a  moment  by  their  own 

Instantly,  therefore,  even  at  the  very  doors  of 
our  argument,  we  have  a  quarrel  between  the  de 
finition  of  the  name,  and  the  definition  of  the  thing; 
the  word  signifying  one  thing,  and  the  thing  itself 
being  understood  to  be  another.  It  would  be 
more  properly  called  vertible  will,  or  mutable  will. 
For  thus  Augustine,  and  after  him  the  Sophists, 
extenuates  the  glory  and  virtue  of  that  word  Free; 
adding  this  disparagement  to  it,  i  that  they  speak 
of  the  vertibility  of  the  free  will/  And  so  it 
would  become  us  to  speak,  that  we  might  avoid 
deceiving  the  hearts  of  men  by  inflated,  vain,  and 
pompous  words  :  as  Augustine  also  thinks,  that  we 
ought  to  speak  in  sober  and  plain  words,  observ 
ing  a  fixed  rule.  For,  in  teaching,  a  dialectic 
simplicity  and  strictness  of  speech  is  required; 
not  big  swelling  words,  and  figures  of  rhetorical 
SECT.  n.  But,  lest  I  should  seem  to  take  pleasure  in 

• fighting  for  a  word,  I  will  acquiesce,  for  the  mo- 

Definition   menf  jn  fljjs  a}Juse  of  terms,  great  and  dano-erous 

continued  ^ 

as  it  is;  so  far  as  to  allow  a  'free'  will  to  be  the 
same  as  a  Avertible'  will.  I  will  also  indulge 
Erasmus  with  making  Freewill  '  a  power  of  the 
human  will;'  as  though  Angels  had  it  not :  since, 
in  this  performance,  he  professes  to  treat  only 

d  '  A  fixed  rule/  opposed  to  whim,  taste  or  chance  ;  '  sober/ 
opposed  to  '  extravagant  /  'plain/  or  ' proper/  opposed  to 
'  figurative/  (  strictness  of  speech/  (i.  e.  words  used  in  their 
own  genuine  and  natural  sense)  opposed  to  '  metaphor/  '  logic* 
opposed  to  '  rhetoric/ 


of  human  Freewill :  else,  in  this  particular  also,  SECT.  n. 

the  definition  had  been  narrower  than  the  thing  ~^ 


I  hasten  to  those  parts  of  the  definition  on 
which  the  subject  hinges.  Some  of  these  are  suf 
ficiently  manifest;  others  flee  the  light,  as  though 
a  guilty  conscience  made  them  afraid  of  every 
thing:  yet  a  definition  ought  to  be  the  plainest 
and  most  certain  thing  in  the  world;  for  to  define 
obscurely,  is  just  like  not  defining  at  all.  These 
parts  are  plain :  '  a  power  of  the  human  will ;' 
also,  '  by  which  a  man  is  able  ;'  also,  (  unto  eter 
nal  salvation  :'  but  those  words,  ( to  apply  him 
self;'  and  again,  ' those  things  which  lead;' 
and  again,  'to  turn  away  himself;'  are  words 
of  the  hoodwinked  fencer.6  What  shall  we 
then  divine  that  saying,  '  to  apply  himself,'  to 
mean?  Again,  fto  turn  away  himself?'  What 
are  those  words,  e  which  lead  to  eternal  salvation  ?' 
What  corner  are  they  slinking  into  ?  I  have  to  do, 
as  I  perceive,  with  a  very  Scotus  or  Heraclitus;f 
who  wears  me  out  with  two  sorts  of  labour. 
First,  I  have  to  go  in  search  of  my  adversary,  and 
to  grope  for  him  in  the  dark,  amidst  pitfalls,  with 
a  palpitating  heart  (a  daring  and  dangerous  en- 

c  Andabat(e^}  '  A  man  fighting  in  the  dark,  with  his  eyes 
blinded  :'  a  name  given  (quasi  avafia-rai  s'i\e.uvra.vafta-rai)  to  cer 
tain  fencers,  or  gladiators,  who  fought  on  horseback  with  their 
eyes  covered  ;  or,  more  properly,  '  to  the  man  who  went  up 
into  the  chariot  to  fight  with  the  charioteer.'  It  was  one  of 
the  games  of  the  Circus  ;  of  which  the  peculiarity  consisted  in 
the  conflict  being  maintained  in  the  dark.  Jerome  has  the  ex 
pression,  '  More  andabatarum,  gladium  in  tenebris  ventilans  ;' 
with  allusion  to  the  former  of  these  customs. 

f  Scotus.]  The  celebrated  Duns  Scotus,  a  Franciscan  ;  the  great 
opponent  of  Thomas  Aquinas,  the  Dominican.  He  acquired 
the  name  of  the  '  subtile'  doctor ;  as  his  opponent  did  that  of 
the  '  angelic.'  Heradltus,  the  weeping  philosopher,  was 
characterised  as  '  tenebrosus,'  or  '  obscure ;'  from  the  enig 
matical  style  in  which  he  communicated  his  reveries.  Socrates 
is  said  to  have  expressed  an  admiration  of  some  of  his  pieces, 
so  far  as  he  could  understand  them ;  but  to  have  intimated 
the  danger  there  was  of  being  drowned  in  his  incomprehensible 



PART  in.  terprise) ;  and,  if  I  do  not  find  him,  to  fight  with 
hobgoblins,  and  beat  the  air  in  the  dark,  to  no  pur 
pose.  Secondly,  if  I  shall  have  dragged  him  into 
the  light;  then  at  length,  when  I  am  worn  out 
with  the  pursuit,  I  have  to  close  with  him  in 
equal  fight. 

By  ( a  power  of  the  human  will/  then,  is  meant, 
as  I  suppose,  an  ability,  or  faculty,  or  disposedness, 
or  suitedness,  to  will,  to  refuse,  to  choose,  to  de 
spise,  to  approve,  to  reject,  and  to  perform  whatever 
other  actions  there  are  of  the  human  will.  But, 
what  is  meant  by  this  same  power  '  applying  itself 
and  turning  away  itself;'  except  it  be  this  very 
willing  and  refusing,  this  very  choosing  and  de 
spising,  this  very  approving  and  rejecting;  in 
short,  except  it  be  '  the  will  performing  its  very 
office ; '  I  see  not.  So  that  we  must  suppose  this 
power  to  be  '  a  something  interposed  between  the 
will  itself  and  its  actings:'  a  power,  by  which  the 
will  itself  draws  out  the  operation  of  willing  and 
refusing,  and  by  which  that  very  act  of  willing  and 
refusing  is  elicited.  It  is  not  possible  to  imagine 
or  conceive  any  thing  else  here.  If  I  be  mistaken, 
let  the  fault  be  charged  upon  the  author  who  de 
fines,  not  upon  me  who  am  searching  out  his  mean 
ing.  For,  it  is  rightly  said  by  the  jurists,  that  the 
words  of  him  who  speaks  obscurely,  when  he 
might  speak  more  plainly,  are  to  be  interpreted 
against  himself.  And  here,  by  the  way,  I  could 
be  glad  to  know  nothing  of  these  Moderns,8  with 
whom  I  have  to  do,  and  their  subtleties :  for  we 
must  be  content  to  speak  grossly,'1  that  we  may 
teach  and  understand.  '  The  things  which  lead  to 


eternal  salvation/    are  the  words  and  works  of 

6  Moderni."}  Quasi  Iwdierni.  The  subtile  doctor  and  his  con 
temporaries,  together  with  those  who  had  preceded  them,  from 
Peter  Lombard  downwards,  were  but  men  of  'to-day;'  as 
compared  with  the  ancient  logicians,  and  with  the  Fathers. 
Also,  the  Schoolmen  were  divided  into  three  classes,  like  the 
Academics;  old,  middle,  and  new.  Scotus  was  of  the  last. 

h  Crassc.']  '  Dull,  heavy,  fat-headed  /  as  contrasted  with  their 
wire-drawn  refinements. 


God,  I  suppose  :  which  are  set  before  the  human  SECT.  in. 

will,  that  it  may  either  apply  itself  to  them,  or  turn  

away  from  them.  By  the  words  of  God,  I  mean 
as  well  the  Law  as  the  Gospel :  works  are  de 
manded  by  the  Law;  faith  by  the  Gospel.1  For 
there  are  no  other  things  that  lead  either  to  the 
grace  of  God,  or  to  eternal  salvation,  save  the 
word  arid  work  of  God :  since  grace,  or  the 
Spirit,  is  the  life  itself;  to  which  we  are  led  by 
the  word  and  work  of  God.k 

But  this  life,  or  eternal  salvation,  is  a  thing  in-  Definition 
comprehensible  to  human  conception ;  as  Paul  conlmued- 
cites  from  Isaiah  (1  Cor.  ii.  9.):  "  What  eye  hath 
not  seen,  nor  ear  heard,  neither  hath  entered  into 
the  heart  of  man,  are  the  things  which  God  hath 
prepared  for  them  that  love  him."  For  this  also 
is  placed  amongst  the  chief  articles  of  our  faith : 
in  confessing  which  we  say,  '  and  the  life  ever 
lasting/  And  what  the  power  of  Freewill  as  to 
receiving  this  article  is,  Paul  declares  in  I  Cor. 
ii.  10.  "  God,"  saith  he,  "  hath  revealed  them  to 
us  by  his  Spirit."  As  if  he  should  say,  '  except 
the  Spirit  shall  have  revealed  them,  no  man's 
heart  will  know  or  think  any  thing  about  them  ; 
so  far  is  it  from  being  able  to  apply  itself  there 
unto,  or  to  covet  them/ 

Consult  experience.  What  have  the  most  ex 
cellent  wits  amongst  the  heathens  thought  of  a 

1  Luther  speaks  here,  as  theological  writers  commonly  do. 
But  the  truth  is  ;  the  Law  required  faith,  and  the  Gospel  re 
quires  works  :  though  the  form  of  the  two  several  dispensations 
was  such  as  Luther  represents  them.  The  Law  was  designed 
to  shut  the  Church  up  unto  faith  ;  the  Gospel,  to  open  it,  by 
that  faith  which  is  itself  a  work  (for  "  this  is  the  work  of  God 
that  ye  believe  on  Him  whom  He  hath  sent."  John  vi.  29.)  to 
those  works  which  alone  are  acceptable  to  Gocl ;  viz.  the 
actings  and  manifestations  of  a  self-emptied,  contrite,  and 
believing  soul. 

k  He  speaks  not  of  any  particular  word  or  work  of  God,  but 
of  his  whole  word,  and  of  his  whole  work ;  excepting  only 
what  he  does,  by  his  special  grace,  in  and  upon  the  hearts  of 
his  people. 


PART  in.  future  life,  and  of  the  resurrection?     Has  it  not 

-  been,  that,  the  more  they  excelled  in  genius,  the 
more  ridiculous  did  the  resurrection,,  and  eternal 
life,  appear  to  them.     Except  you  will  say,  that 
those  philosophers  and  other  Greeks,  who  called 
Paul  a  babbler,1  and  an  assertor  of  new  Gods, 
when  he  taught  these  things  at  Athens,  were  not 
men  of  genius.     Porcius  Fcstus  calls  Paul  a  mad 
man,  in  Acts  xxvi.m  (ver.  24.)  for  preaching  eter 
nal   life.      What   does   Pliny   bark   about   these 
things,  in  his  seventh  book?     What  says  Lucian, 
so  great  a  wit?  Were  these  men  stupid?  Nay,  it 
is  true  of  most  men,  even  at  this  day,  that  the 
greater  their  genius  and  erudition,  the  more  they 
laugh  at  this  article,  and  account  it  a  fable  ;  and 

[that  openly.  For,  as  to  the  secret  soul,  no  man 
positively,  except  he  be  sprinkled  Avith  the  Holy 
Ghost,  either  knows,  or  believes  in,  or  wishes  for 
eternal  salvation,  even  though  he  may  make  fre 
quent  boast  of  it  with  his  voice  and  with  his  pen. 
Would  to  God  that  you  and  I,  my  Erasmus,  were 
free  from  this  same  leaven  !  so  rare  is  a  believing 
mind,  as  applied  to  this  article.  —  Have  I  hit  the 
sense  of  your  definition  ? 
SECT.  iv.  So  then,  Freewill,  according  to  Erasmus,  is  a 

-  power  of  the  will,  which  is  able,  of  itself,  to  will 

not  to  w'^  ^ie  wor^  an(l  work  of  God  ;  by 

defi-  which  word  and  work,  it  is  led  to  those  things 
nition.        which  exceed  both   its  sense  and  thought.  —  But 

1  Babbler.']  STre/^o'Aoryo?  is  a  term  of  contempt,  applied  pro 
perly  to  persons  who  went  about  the  forum  picking  up  the 
seeds  and  crumbs,  or  whatever  else  might  fall  between  buyer 
and  seller,  and  making  a  living  out  of  them.  Hence  applied 
to  a  loose,  ignorant,  unordered,  and  unmeasured  speaker  ;  one 
who  retails  the  sort  of  refuse,  common-place  scraps,  which  he 
has  picked  up  in  the  streets.  New  Gods,  not  in  the  invidious, 
or  disparaging  sense  of  demons,  or  of  £r/^ioi/es  ;  but  some  addi 
tional  deities  :  objects  of  worship,  having  the  same  sort  of 
claim  to  reverence  which  the  rest  of  their  multiplied  divinities 

m  He  says,  Acts  xxiv.  j  but  the  allusion  is  manifestly  to 
Acts  xxvi. 


if  it  be  able  to  will  and  to  refuse,  it  is  able  also  SECT.  iv. 

to  love  and  to  hate.     If  it  be  able  to  love- and  to  

hate,  it  is  able  also,  in  some  small  degree,  to  do  the 
deeds  of  the  Law,  and  to  believe  the  Gospel :  be 
cause  if  you  will,  or  refuse  a  certain  thing,  it  is 
impossible  but  that  you  must  be  able  to  work 
something-  towards  it,  by  means  of  that  will,  even 
though  you  be  not  able,  through  another's  hinder 
ing,  to  finish  it.  Now,  since  death,  the  cross,  and 
all  the  evils  of  the  world  are  numbered  amongst 
those  works  of  God  which  lead  to  salvation ;  the 
human  will  must  be  able  to  choose  even  death  and 
the  man's  own  destruction.  Nay,  it  is  able  to 
will  all  things ;  whilst  it  is  able  to  will  the  word 
and  work  of  God.  For,  what  can  there  be  any 
where,  that  is  below,  above,  within,  or  without,  the 
word  and  work  of  God;  save  God  himself?11  And 
what  is  now  left  to  grace,  and  the  Holy  Spirit? 
This  is  manifestly  to  attribute  divinity  to  Free 
will  :  since  to  will  the  Law  and  the  Gospel,  to  re 
ject  sin,  and  to  choose  death,  is  the  property  of 
divine  virtue  exclusively;  as  Paul  teaches  in  more 
places  than  one. 

Hence  it  appears,  that  no  man,  since  the  Pela 
gians'  days,  has  written  more  correctly  on  Free 
will,  than  Erasmus  has.  For  I  have  said  before, 
that  Freewill  is  a  term  peculiar  to  God,  and  ex 
presses  a  divine  perfection.  However,  no  man 
has  attributed  this  divine  power  to  it  hitherto, 
except  the  Pelagians  :  for  the  Sophists,  whatever 
they  may  think,  certainly  speak  very  differently 
about  it.  Nay,  Erasmus  far  exceeds  the  Pela 
gians  :  for  they  attribute  this  divinity  to  the  whole 
of  the  free  will,  Erasmus  to  half  of  it.  They  make 
Freewill  to  consist  of  two  parts;  a  power  of  dis- 

n  IntrvL  extrti.]  '  On  this  side  of  it,  or  beyond  it :'  which,  when 
joined  with  the  preceding  words  '  infra,  suprV  express  '  the 
universal  comprehension  of  the  word  and  work  of  God;'  as 
containing  '  all  that  is  above,  beneath,  and  on  all  sides  of  us' — 
with  only  one  exception. 



PART  ill.  cerning,  and  a  power  of  choosing:  of  which  they 

•  feign  the  one  to  belong  to  the  understanding,  and 

the  other  to  the  will ;  as  the  Sophists  also  do.  But 
Erasmus,  making  no  mention  of  the  pOAver  of  dis 
cerning,  confines  his  praises  to  the  power  of 
choosing,  singly ;  and  so  deifies  a  sort  of  crippled 
and  half-begotten  Freewill.  What  would  he  have 
done,  think  you,  if  lie  had  been  set  to  describe  the 
whole  of  this  faculty  ? 

Yet,  not  content  with  this,  he  even  exceeds  the 
heathen  philosophers.  For  they  have  not  yet 
determined  t  whether  any  substance  can  put  itself 
into  motion;'  and  on  this  point,  the  Platonics  and 
Peripatetics  differ  from  each  other,  throughout  the 
whole  body  of  their  philosophy.  But,  according 
to  Erasmus,  Freewill  not  only  moves  itself,  but 
applies  even  to  those  things  which  are  eternal ; 
that  is,  incomprehensible  to  itself;  by  its  own 
power.  A  perfectly  new  and  unheard-of  definer 
of  Freewill;  who  leaves  heathen  philosophers, 
Pelagians,  Sophists,  and  all  others,  far  behind 
him  !  Nor  is  this  enough  :  he  does  not  even  spare 
himself,  but  even  disagrees  and  fights  with  him 
self,  more  than  with  all  the  rest.  He  had  before 
said,  '  the  human  will  is  altogether  inefficacious 
without  grace;'  (did  he  say  this  in  jest?)  but 
now,  when  he  defines  it  seriously,  he  tells  us  that 
the  human  will  possesses  that  power,  whereby  it 
is  efficacious  to  apply  itself  to  those  things  which 
are  belonging  to  eternal  salvation;  that  is,  to 
those  things  which  are  incomparably  above  its 
power.  Thus  Erasmus  is,  in  this  place,  superior 
even  to  himself  also.0 

SECT.V.        j)0  yOU  perceive,  my  Erasmus,  how,  by  this 
~   definition,  you  (without  meaning  it,  as  I  suppose) 

Erasmus's    ,  tc\     i  i  i  i       1  ,T  •     ' 

definition    betray  yourself  to  be  one  who  understands  nothing 

0  Erasmus  lias  made  Freewill  greater  than  itself.  Luther 
puns  upon  this,  and  intimates  that  he  has  even  out-heroded. 
Herod  here ;  not  only  exceeding  philosophers,  &c.  but  ercn 
his  own  extravagant  self. 



at  all  about  these  things,  or  who  writes  OQ  them  SECT.  v. 
in  sheer  thoughtlessness  and  contempt,  without 
proving  what  he  says,  or  what  he  affirms.  As  I 
have  remarked  before,  you  say  less,  and  claim  of  the 
more,  for  Freewill,  than  all  the  rest  of  its  advo-  s°Phists- 
cates  have  done :  inasmuch  as  you  do  not  even 
describe  the  whole  of  Freewill,  and  yet  assign 
every  thing  to  it.  The  Sophists  (or  at  least  their 
father,  Peter  Lombard)  deliver  what  is  far  more 
tolerable  to  us,  when  they  affirm,  that  '  Freewill  is 
the  faculty  of  first  discerning  good  from  evil,  and 
then  choosing  good  or  evil  according  as  grace  be 
present,  or  be  wanting.' p  He  agrees  entirely  with 
Augustine,  that  '  Freewill,  by  its  own  strength, 
cannot  but  fall ;  and  has  no  power,  save  to  com 
mit  sin/  On  which  account,  Augustine  says,  it 
should  be  called  Bondwill,  rather  than  Freewill; 
in  his  second  book  against  Julian. 

But  you  represent  the  power  of  Freewill  to  be 
equal  on  both  sides,  inasmuch  as  it  can,  by  its 
own  strength,  without  grace,  both  apply  itself  to, 
and  turn  away  itself/row  good.  You  are  not  aware 
how  much  you  attribute  to  it  by  this  pronoun 
'  itself/  or  '  its  own  self/  whilst  you  say,  ( it  can 
apply  itself!'  In  fact,  you  exclude  the  Holy 
Spirit  with  all  his  power,  as  altogether  super 
fluous  and  unnecessary.  Your  definition  is  there 
fore  damnable,  even  in  the  judgment  of  the 
Sophists ;  who,  if  they  were  not  so  maddened 
against  me  by  the  blindings  of  envy,  would  rave 
at  your  book  rather  than  mine.  But,  since  you 
attack  Luther,  you  say  nothing  but  what  is  holy 
and  catholic/  even  though  you  contradict  both 
yourself  and  them.  So  great  is  the  patience  of 
the  saints/ 

p  They  ascribed  the  power  of  discerning1,  out  of  hand;  but 
the  power  of  choosing1  good,  conditionally. 

q  Catholicum .]  Catk.  '  Ad  oinnes  pcrtinens,'  '  quod  ubique  et 
Jipud  omnes  disseminatum  est,  et  ab  omnibus  recipi  debet.' 
'  What  all  are  bound  to  receive  as  true.' 

r  A  sarcastic  allusion  to  Rev.  xiii.  10.  xiv.  12. 


PART  in.       I  do  not  say  this  as  approving  the  sentence  of 

the  Sophists  on  Freewill,  but  as  thinking  it  more 

tolerable  than  that  of  Erasmus ;  because  they 
approach  nearer  to  the  truth  :  but  neither  do  they 
affirm,  as  I  do,  that  Freewill  is  a  mere  nothing. 
Still,  inasmuch  as  they  affirm  (the  Master  of  the 
Sentences5  in  particular)  that  it  has  no  power  of 
itself  without  grace,  they  are  at  war  with  Eras 
mus  ;  nay,  they  seem  to  be  at  war  also  with  them 
selves,  and  to  be  torturing  one  another  with  dis 
putes  about  a  mere  word :  being  fonder  of  con 
tention  than  of  truth,  as  becometii  Sophists.  For, 
suppose  a  Sophist  of  no  bad  sort  to  come  in  my 
way,  with  whom  I  were  holding  familiar  conversa 
tion  and  conference  upon  these  matters  in  a  corner; 
and  whose  candid  and  free  judgment  I  should  ask, 
in  some  such  way  as  this  :  t  If  any  one  should  pro 
nounce  that  free  to  you,  which,  by  its  own  power, 
can  but  incline  to  one  side  (that  is,  to  the  bad 
side) ;  having  power,  it  is  true,  on  the  other  side 
(that  is,  on  the  good  side) — but  that,  by  a  virtue 
not  its  own  ;  nay,  simply  by  the  help  of  another  : 
could  you  refrain  from  laughing,  my  friend  ?'  For, 
upon  this  principle,  I  shall  easily  make  it  out  that 
,  a  stone,  or  the  trunk  of  a  tree,  has  Freewill ;  as 
being  that  which  can  incline  both  upwards  and 
;  downwards ;  by  its  own  power,  indeed,  only 
downwards;  yet,  by  another's  help,  and  by  that 
only,  upwards  also.  And  thus,  as  I  have  before 
said,  by  an  inverted1  use  of  all  languages  and 
words,  we  shall  at  length  come  to  say,  (  No  man 
is  all  men;'  (  nothing  is  every  thing:'  as  refer 
ring  the  one  term  to  the  thing  itself,  and  the 

s  Master  &c.  A  title  with  which  Peter  Lombard  was  dig 
nified,  from  his  work  entitled  '  The  Sentences;'  by  which  he 
was  svipposed  to  have  rendered  the  same  service  to  Divinity, 
which  Gratian,  his  contemporary,  had  done  to  Law.  He  was 
the  father  of  scholastic  theology,  which  succeeded  to  that  of 
the  Fathers  ;  his  work  being  considered  as  the  great  source  of 
that  science,  in  the  Latin  church.  He  died  A.  D.  1164. 

1  '  Turning  words  topsy-turvy.' 


oilier  to  some  other  thing-,  which  is  no  part  of  SECT.VI. 

it,  but  may  possibly  be  present  to   it   and  befal  


It  is  in  this  way,  that,  after  endless  disputings, 
they  make  the  free  will  to  be  free  by  an  accident; 
viz.  as  being  that  which  may  be  made  free  by 
another.  But  the  question  is  about  the  freedom 
of  the  will,  as  it  is  in  itself,  and  in  its  own  sub 
stance  :  and  if  this  be  the  question  resolved,  there 
remains  nothing  but  an  empty  name  for  Freewill, 
whether  they  will  or  no.  The  Sophists  fail  in  this 
also ;  that  they  assign  a  power  of  discerning  good 
from  evil,  to  Freewill.  They  also  lower  regene 
ration,  and  the  renewal  of  the  Holy  Ghost ;  and 
claim  that  extrinsic  aid,  as  a  sort  of  outward  ap 
pendage  to  Freewill:"  of  which  I  shall  say  more 
hereafter.  But  enough  of  your  definition:  Jet  us 
now  see  the  arguments  which  are  to  swell  out 
this  empty  little  word.x 

The  first  is  that  taken  from  Ecclus.  xv.  (vv.  15 —  Ecci«s.  xv. 

18.)  "  The  Lord  made  man  from  the  beginning.  15~l8'  , 
i  i   xv  i  •       •     *i      i        i     c  u-  i       IT?     considered- 

and  lett  him  in  the  hand  ot  his  own  counsel.     He 

added  his  commands,  and  his  precepts.  If  thou 
shalt  be  willing  to  keep  his  commandments,  and 
to  perform  acceptable  faithfulness  for  ever,  they 
shall  preserve  thee.  He  hath  set  fire  and  water 
before  thee ;  stretch  forth  thy  hand  unto  whether 

u  For  example  ;  '  Nothing  is  all  things.'  Why,  God  made 
all  things  of  nothing.  You  might  call  that  '  nothing,'  '  all 
things  ;'  but  it  would  be,  by  referring  the  term  '  nothing'  to 
the  thing  itself,  and  '  all  things'  to  '  the  existent  one  ;'  who 
being  present  communicates  being  (which  he  has  in  himself) 
to  this  '  nothing.' 

v  Velut  extern^  affingunt.~]  The  gift  of  the  Spirit,  though 
of  course  not  inherent,  they  represented  as  inseparably  at 
tached  to  the  free  will ;  and  so,  communicated  as  matter  of 

x  Inffitura.']  A  figure  taken  from  blowing  a  bladder,  or 
from  raiding  a  bubble,  or  from  making  a  musical  instrument 
to  sound  aloud  :  '  to  give  size,  or  substance,  or  sound,  to  this 
empty,  speechless  thing.' 


PART  HI.  thou  wilt.  Before  man  is  life  and  death,  good 
and  evil,  whether  him  liketh  shall  be  given 

Although  I  might  justly  reject  this  book,  for 
the  moment  I  admit  it ;  that  I  may  not  lose  my 
time  by  involving  myself  in  a  dispute  about 
the  books  received  into  the  Hebrew  canon:  which 
you  ridicule  and  revile  not  a  little ;  comparing  the 
Proverbs  of  Solomon  and  the  Love-song  (as  you 
by  an  ambiguous  sort  of  jeer  entitle  it)  with  the 
two  books  of  Esdras,  Judith,  the  history  of  Susan 
nah  and  of  the  Dragon,  and  Esther.2  This  last, 
however,  they  have  received  into  their  canon ; 
although,  in  my  judgment,  deserving,  more  than 
all  the  rest,  to  be  excluded.  But  I  would  answer 
briefly,  in  your  own  words :  c  the  Scripture  is  ob 
scure  and  ambiguous  in  this  passage ;'  it  there 
fore  proves  nothing  with  certainty  :  and,  main 
taining  as  we  do  the  negative,  I  demand  of  you  to 
produce  a  place  which  proves  what  Freewill  is, 
and  what  Freewill  can  effect,  by  clear  words. 
Perhaps  you  will  do  this  on  the  Greek  calends.a 
Howbeit,  to  avoid  this  necessity,  you  waste  many 
good  words  in  marching  over  the  ears  of  corn,b 

y  The  Greek  text,  from  which  our  authorized  version  is  a 
faithful  translation,  omits  the  words  '  conservabunt  te,'  arid 
'  adjecit  mandate  et  prsccepta  sua.'  Also  in  verse  17  ',  '  bonum 
et  malum.'  The  Syriac,  or  vulgar  Hebrew,  in  which  this  book 
was  originally  written,  is  lost ;  although  Jerom  professes  to 
have  seen  it.  What  Jesus  the  Son  of  Sirach  produced  in  the 
Syriac,  his  grandson  translated  into  Greek,  for  the  benefit  of 
his  countrymen  in  Egypt  5  Avho,  by  long  disuse,  had  forgotten 
the  Hebrew  tongue. 

z  '  The  rest  of  the  chapters  of  the  Book  of  Esther,  which  are 
found  neither  in  the  Hebrew,  nor  the  Chaldee.' 

a  Gr&cas  calendas.~\  '  A  day  that  will  never  come  ;'  a  Latin  pro 
verb  taken  from  the  Greeks  having  no  calends  to  their  months, 
as  the  Latins  had. 

b  Super  aristas  inccdisJ]  Applied  proverbially,  to  f  one  who 
affirms  nothing  absolutely  :'  he  skims  the  ears  of  corn,  fearing 
to  set  his  foot  on  them. 


and  reciting  so  many  opinions  on  Freewill,  that  SECT.VI. 

you  almost  make  Pelagius  evangelical.0     Again;   

you  invent  four  kinds  of  .grace,  that  you  may  be 
able  to  assign  some  sort  of  faith  and  charity,  even 
to  the  heathen  philosophers.  Again ;  you  invent 
that  threefold  law  of  nature,  works,  and  faith  : 
a  new  figment,  by  which  you  enable  yourself  to 
maintain,  that  the  precepts  of  the  heathen  philo 
sophers  have  a  mighty  coincidence  with  the  pre 
cepts  of  the  Gospel.  Then  again  ;  you  apply 
that  affirmation  in  Psalm  iv.  "  The  light  of  thy 
countenance  has  been  marked  upon  us,  Lord;"d 
which  speaks  of  the  knowledge  of  the  very 
countenance  of  God  (that  is,  of  an  operation 
of  faith)  to  blinded  reason.  Now,  let  any  Chris 
tian  put  all  these  things  together,  and  he  will 
be  obliged  to  suspect  that  you  are  sporting  and 
jesting  with  the  dogmas  and  worship  of  Chris 
tians.  For  I  find  it  most  difficult  indeed  to  at 
tribute  all  this  to  ignorance,  in  a  man  who  has 
so  thoroughly  ransacked6  all  our  documents, 
and  so  diligently  treasured  them  up  and  remem 
bered  them.  But  I  will  abstain  for  the  present, 
content  with  this  short  hint;  till  a  fitter  op 
portunity  shall  oifer  itself.  But  let  me  beg  of 
you,  my  Erasmus,  not  to  tease  us  any  more  in 
this  way,  with  your  '  Who  sees  me?'  nor  is  it 
safe,  in  so  weighty  a  matter,  to  be  continually 

c  Pelagius.']  The  great  lieresiarch  of  Freewill,  in  the  fifth 
century  5  a  native  of  Wales,  and  as  is  supposed,  a  monk  of  Ban- 
go  r  ;  who  exchanged  his  original  name  of  Morgan,  for  the  more 
imposing  one  of  Pelagius. 

u  lie  read  Psalm  iv.  6'.  "Lord  lift  thou"up,"  &c.  as  a  prayer; 
but  it  may  with  equal  propriety  he  read  as  an  affirmation. 

c  Nostra  omnia  sic  perhtstnwit.']  I  refer  the  '  nostra  oinnia' 
to  the  sacred  records,  '  the  authorized  documents  of  Chris 
tianity  ;'  not  the  writings  of  Luther  and  his  friends.  Pcrlustr. 
does  not  express  '  real  insight  into  the  things  contained  in 
those  documents,'  but  '  complete  outside  inspection.'  This 
is  just  the  sort  of  knowledge  which  Luther  would  choose  to 
ascribe  to  him,  and  which  is  amply  sufficient  to  exempt  him 
from  the  plea  of  ignorance. 


in.  playing  at  making  Vertumnuses   of  words,  with 

-  every  body.1 

SEC.  VH.  You  make  three  opinions  on  Freewill,  out  of 
one  ;  accounting  that  a  harsh  one/  which  denies 
that  a  mau  can  W^  good  without  special  grace  ; 

stated.  which  denies  that  he  can  begin  any  thing  good, 
denies  that  he  can  go  on  with  any  thing  good,  de 
nies  that  he  can  complete  any  thing  good.  But 
though  harsh,  you  account  it  highly  approvable. 
It  approves  itself  to  you,  as  leaving  man  in  pos 
session  of  desire  and  endeavour,  but  not  leaving 
him  any  thing  to  ascribe  to  his  OAvn  powers.  The 
opinion  of  those  who  maintain  that  Freewill  can 
do  nothing  but  sin  ;  that  only  grace  works  good 
in  us ;  seems  still  more  harsh  to  you :  but  most 
of  all,  that  opinion  which  affirms  Freewill  to  be  an 
empty  name,  God  working  both  good  and  evil  in 
us.  It  is  against  these  two  last  opinions,  that  you 
profess  to  write. 

SEC.VIII.  Do  you  even  know  what  you  are  saying,  my 
Erasmus  ?  You  make  three  opinions  here,  as  if 
they  were  the  opinions  of  three  different  sects ; 
not  perceiving,  that  it  is  the  same  thing  declared 
in  different  words,  with  a  twofold  variety,  by  us, 
the  same  persons,  and  professors  of  one  sect. 
But  let  me  warn  you  of  your  carelessness,  or  dull 
ness  of  intellect;  and  expose  it. 

I  ask  then, how  does  the  definition  of  Freewill, 
which  you  have  given  above,  correspond  with 
this  first  opinion  of  yours ;  which  you  declare  to 

{  '  Us,'  opposed  to  '  every  body.'  He  represents  him  as 
playing  at  peep  with  the  learned  ;  and  as  deceiving  the  people  by 
his  tricks  upon  words,  by  which  he  gave  the  same  word  as 
many  faces  as  Vertumnus.  He  plagued  the  wise  ;  he  deceived 
the  vulgar.  Vertumnus  had  many  faces  :  hence,  '  Vertumnis 
verborum  ludere,'  '  to  play  at  making  words  like  Vertumnus  ;' 
that  is,  different  in  appearance,  whilst  really  the  same.  Eras 
mus  could  say  and  unsay  every  thing,  by  his  copiousness,  ver 
satility,  and  ambiguity  of  words. 

g  Erasmus  does  not  introduce  the  \vord  '  harsh'  in  describing 
this  first  opinion  j  Luther  ascribes  it  to  him,  as  implied  in  his 
description  of  the  other  two. 


_       * 

be  lug'hly  approvable  ?  For  you  have  said,  that  SEC- IX> 
Freewill  is  a  power  of  the  human  will,  by  which  a 
man  can  apply  himself  to  good.  But  here  you 
say,  and  approve  its  being  said,  that  a  man  can 
not  will  good,  without  grace.  Your  definition 
affirms  what  its  illustration  denies ;  and  there  is 
found  ( a  yea  and  nay '  in  your  Freewill :  so  that 
you  at  the  same  time  both  approve  and  condemn 
us ;  nay,  condemn  and  approve  yourself,  in  one 
and  the  same  dogma  and  article.'1  Do  you  not 
think  it  good,  that  it  applies  itself  to  those  things 
which  pertain  to  everlasting  salvation?  This  is 
what  your  definition  attributes  to  Freewill;  and 
yet  there  is  no  need  of  grace,  if  there  be  so  much 
of  good  in  Freewill  that  it  can  apply  itself  to 
good.  So  then,  the  Freewill  which  you  define,  is 
a  different  thing  from  the  Freewill  which  you  de 
fend  ;  and  Erasmus  has  two  Freewills  more  than 
others  have,  and  those  quite  at  variance  with  each 

But,  dismissing  that  Freewill  which  your  defini-  Theappro- 
tion  has  invented,  let  us  look  at  this  contrary  one,  ^onS*- 
which  the  opinion  itself  sets  before  us.  You  grant,  sidered. 
that  a  man  cannot  will  good  without  special  grace  ; 
and  we  are  not  now  discussing  what  the  grace  of 
God  can  do,  but  what  man  can  do  without  grace. 
You  grant  therefore,  that  Freewill  cannot  will 
good.  This  is  nothing  else,  than  that  it  cannot 
li  |  apply  itself  to  those  things  which  appertain  to 
eternal  salvation,  as  you  sung  out  in  your  defini 
tion.  Nay,  you  say  a  little  before,  that  the  hu 
man  will  is  so  depraved,  that,  having  lost  its 
liberty,  it  is  compelled  to  serve  sin,  and  cannot 
store  itself  to  any  better  sort  of  produce.  If  I 
o  not  mistake,  you  represent  the  Pelagians  to 
have  been  of  this  opinion. — Now,  I  think  there  is 
no  escape  here  for  my  Proteus.  He  is  caught  and 

h  The  definition  says,  '  can  apply  itself  to  those  things,  &c.f 
The  approvable  opinion  says, '  cannot  will  good.' 

144  BONDAGE  OF  THE  WILL.  ? 

PART  in.  held  by  open  words ;  to  wit,  the  will,  having  lost 
its  liberty,  is  driven  into,  and  held  fast  in,  the  ser 
vice  of  sin.  O  exquisite  Freewill  which,  having 
lost  its  freedom,  is  declared  by  Erasmus  himself  to 
be  the  servant  of  sin !  When  Luther  said  this, 
6  nothing  had  ever  been  heard  that  is  more  ab 
surd  /  ( nothing  could  be  published  that  is  more, 
mischievous  than  this  paradox/  Diatribes  must 
be  written  against  him  ! 

But  perhaps  nobody  will  take  my  word  for  it, 
that  Erasmus  has  really  said  these  things :  let 
this  passage  of  Diatribe  be  read,  and  it  will  excite 
wonder.  Not  that  I  am  greatly  surprised.  The 
man  who  does  not  account  this  a  serious  subject, 
and  is  never  affected  with  the  cause  he  is  pleading, 
but  is  altogether  alienated  from  it  in  heart,  and  is 
tired  of  it,  and  chills  under  it,  or  nauseates  it — how 
can  such  an  one  do  otherwise  than  here  and  there 
say  absurd  things,  incongruous  things,  discordant' 
things?  pleading  the  cause  as  he  does,  like  a 
drunken  or  sleeping  man,  who  belches  out  '  yes/ 
'  no/  as  the  sounds  fall  variously  upon  his  ears. 
It  is  on  this  account,  that  rhetoricians  require  feel 
ing  in  an  advocate;  and  much  more  does  theology 
require  such  a  degree  of  emotion  in  her  champion, 
as  shall  render  him  vigilant,  sharpsighted,  intent, 
thoughtful,  and  strenuous. 
SECT.  x.  If  then  Freewill,  without  grace,  having  lost  her 

freedom,  is  obliged  to  serve  sin,  and  cannot  will 

Tahbe1(fPp™~  good ;  I  should  like  to  know  what  that  desire, 

nionfur-      what  that  endeavour  is,  which  this  first  and  appro- 

t!ie|'  c"n-    vable  opinion  leaves  to  a  man? '   It  cannot  be  good 

desire,  it  cannot  be  good  endeavour :  because  he 

cannot  will  good ;  as  the  opinion  says,  and  as  you 

have  conceded.     Evil  desire,  therefore,  and  evil 

endeavour  are  alone  left ;  which,  now  that  liberty 

is  lost,  are  compelled  to  serve  sin. — And  what  is 

meant,  pray,  by  that  saying  'This  opinion  leaves 

1  ( It  leaves  man  in  possession  of  desire  and  endeavour/  &c^ 



desire  and  endeavour,  but  leaves  not  that  which    SEC.  XL 

may  be  ascribed  to  the  man's  own  powers  ?'  Who   

can  conceive  this  ?  If  desire  and  endeavour  be 
left  to  Freewill,  why  should  they  not  be  ascribed 
to  it  ?  If  they  are  not  to  be  ascribed,  how  can 
they  be  left?  Are  this  desire  and  endeavour, 
which  subsist  before  grace,  left  even  to  that  very 
grace  which  is  to  come,  and  not  to  Freewill ;  so 
as  to  be  at  the  same  time  left,  and  not  left,  to  this 
same  Freewill?  If  these  be  not  paradoxes,  or 
rather  monsters,  I  know  not  what  monsters  are. 

But  perhaps  Diatribe  is  dreaming,  that  there  is  Freewill 
a  something  between  this  being  able  to  will  good,  not 'ane- 
aud  not  being  able  to  will  good,  which  is  the  mere  feTmediate 
power  of  willing ;  distinct  from  any  regard  to  good  power  of 
or  evil.  Thus,  we  are  to  evade  the  rocks  by  a  the  Wlll>> 
sort  of  logical  subtilty;  affirming,  that  there  is,  in 
the  will  of  man,  a  certain  power  of  willing,  which 
cannot  indeed  incline  to  good  without  grace,  and 
yet  even  without  grace  does  not  forthwith  will 
only  evil :  a  pure  and  simple  power  of  willing; 
\\hich  may  be  turned  by  grace  upwards  to  good, 
and  by  sin  downwards  to  evil.  But  what  then 
becomes  of  that  saying,  (  having  lost  its  liberty, 
it  is  compelled  to  serve  sin  ?'  Where  then  is 
that  '  desire  and  endeavour '  which  is  left  ? 
Where  is  that  power  of  applying  itself  to  those 
things  which  belong  to  eternal  salvation  ?  For  that 
power  of  applying  itself  to  salvation  cannot  be  a 
mere  abstract  power  of  willing,  unless  salvation 
itself  be  called  nothing. — Then,  again,  desire  and 
endeavour  cannot  be  a  mere  power  of  willing; 
Isince  desire  must  lean  and  endeavour  some 
.vhither,  and  cannot  be  carried  towards  nothing*, 
or  remain  quiescent.  In  short,  whithersoever 
Diatribe  shall  be  pleased  to  turn  herself,  she  can- 
lot  escape  contradictions,  and  conflicting  expres- 
;ions :  so  that  even  Freewill  herself  is  not  so  much 
t  captive,  as  Diatribe  who  defends  her.  She  so  en- 
angles  herself,  in  her  attempts  to  give  liberty  to 


PART  ill.  the  will,  that  she  gets  bound   with   indissoluble 

•  chains,  in  company  with  her  freedmaid. 

Then,  again,  it  is  a  mere  fiction  of  logic,  that 
there  is  this  middle  faculty  of  mere  willing  in 
man  ;  nor  can  those  prove,  who  assert  it.  Igno 
rance  of  things,  and  servile  regard  to  words,  has 
given  birth  to  this  fancy ;  as  if  the  will  must 
straightway  be  such  in  substance,  as  we  set  it  out 
in  words.  The  Sophists  have  numberless  fig 
ments  of  this  sort.  The  truth  rather  is,  what 
Christ  says,  "  He  that  is  not  with  me  is  against 
me."  He  does  not  say,  '  He  that  is  not  with  me, 
nor  against  me,  but  in  the  middle/  For,  if  God 
be  in  us,  Satan  is  absent,  and  only  to  will  good  is 
present  with  us.  If  God  be  absent,  Satan  is  pre 
sent,  and  there  is  no  will  in  us  but  towards  evil. 
Neither  God,  nor  Satan,  allows  a  mere  abstract 
power  to  will  in  us ;  but,  as  you  have  rightly  said, 
having  lost  our  liberty,  we  are  compelled  to  serve 
sin ;  that  is,  we  will  sin  and  wickedness ;  we  speak 
sin  and  wickedness ;  we  act  sin  and  wickedness. 
See  into  what  a  corner  Diatribe  has  been  driven, 
without  knowing  it,  by  invincible  and  most  mighty 
truth ;  who  has  made  her  wisdom  folly,  and  com 
pelled  her,  when  meaning  to  speak  against  us,  to 
speak  for  us,  and  against  herself:  just  as  Free 
will  does,  when  she  attempts  any  thing  good ;  for 
then,  by  opposing  evil,  she  most  of  all  does  evil, 
and  opposes  good.  Thus  Diatribe  is  much  such  a 
speaker,  as  Freewill  is  an  actor.  Indeed,  the 
whole  Diatribe  itself  is  nothing  else  but  an  ex 
cellent  performance  of  Freewill,  condemning  by 
defending,  and  defending  by  condemning;"  that  is, 
twice  a  fool,  whilst  she  would  be  thought  wise. , 

The  first  opinion,  then,  as  compared  with  itself, 
Thea  "  is  such  as  to  deny  that  man  can  will  any  thing 
provable  good,  and  yet  to  maintain  that  desire  is  left  to  him; 

k  '  Not  only  ruining  her  own  cause,  but  establishing  her 


and  yet  that  this  desire  also  is  not  his.     Let  us  SEC.  xii. 

now  compare  it  with  the  other  two. — '  The  second 

is  harsher,  which  judges    that   Freewill   has   no  °Pinion 

,      /  -P      •  rru  •  -      compared 

power  but   to   commit   sin/     Ihis,   however,    is  with  the 
Augustine's   opinion;  expressed   in  many   other  other  two. 
places,  and  specially  in  his  treatise  on  the  Letter 
and  Spirit  (the  fourth  or  fifth  chapter,  if  I  am  not 
mistaken),  where  he  uses  these  very  words. 

'That  third  opinion  is  the  harshest  of  all,  which 
maintains  that  Freewill  is  an  empty  name,  and  that 
all  we  do  is  necessarily  under  the  bondage  of  sin.' 
Diatribe   wages    war   with   these   two.     Here,  I 
admit  that  probably  I  may  not  be  German  enough, 
or  Latinist  enough,  to  enunciate  the  subject  matter 
perspicuously;  but  I  call  God  to  witness,  that  I 
meant  to  say  nothing  else,  and  nothing  else  to  be 
understood,  by  the  expressions  used  in  these  two 
last  opinions,  than  what  is  asserted  in  the  first 
opinion.     Nor  did  Augustine,  I  think,  mean  any 
thing  else ;  nor  do  I  understand  by  his  words  any 
thing  else,  than  what  the  first  opinion  asserts.    So 
that  the  three  opinions  recited  by  Diatribe  are,  in 
my  view,  but  that  one  sentiment,  which  I  have 
promulgated.  '  For,   when  it  has  been  conceded 
and  settled,  that  Freewill,  having  lost  her  freedom, 
is  compelled  into  the  service  of  sin,  and  has  no 
power  to  will  any  thing  good;  I  can  conceive  no 
thing  else  from  these  expressions,  but  that  Free 
will  is  a  bare  word ;  the  substance  expressed  by 
that  word  having  been  lost.     Lost  liberty  my  art 
of  grammar  calls  no  liberty  at  all ;  and   to  attri 
bute  the  name  of  liberty  to  that  which  has  no 
liberty,   is   to  attribute  a  bare  name  to  it.     If  I 
wander  from   truth  here,  let  who  can  recal   me 
from  my  wanderings  ;  if  my  words   be   obscure 
and  ambiguous,  let  who  can  make  them  plain,  and 
confirm  them.     I  cannot  call  lost  health,  health ; 
and  if  I  should  ascribe  such  a  property  to  a  sick 
man,  what  have  I  given  him  but  a  bare  name  ? 

But  away  with  such  monstrous  expressions  ! 


PART  in.  For,  who  can  bear  that  abuse   of  language,,  by 

which  we  affirm  that  man  has  Freewill;  yet,  with 

the  same  breath,  assert  that  he  has  lost  his  liberty, 
and  is  compelled  into  the  service  of  sin,  and  can 
will  nothing  good.     Such  expressions  are  at  vari 
ance  with  common  sense,  and  absolutely  destroy 
the  use  of  speech.     Diatribe  is  to   be   accused, 
rather  than  we  ;  she  blurts  out  her  own  words  as 
if  she  were  asleep,  and  gives  no  heed  to  what  is 
spoken  by  others.     She  does  riot  consider,  I  say, 
what  it  is,  and  of  what  force  it  is,  to  declare  that 
man  has  lost  his  liberty,  is  compelled  to  serve  sin, 
and  has  no  power  to  do  any  thing  good.     For,  if 
she  were  awake  and  observant,  she  would  clearly 
see  that  the  meaning  of  the  three  opinions,  which 
she  makes  diverse  and  opposite,  is  one  and  the 
same.     For  the  man  who  has  lost  his  liberty,  who 
is  compelled  to  serve  sin,  and  Avho  cannot  will 
good — what  shall  be  inferred  more  correctly  con 
cerning  this  man,  than  that  he  does  nothing  but 
sin,    or   will    evil  ?     Even    the    Sophists   would 
establish  this  conclusion  by  their  learned  syllo 
gisms.     So  that  Madam  Diatribe  is  very  unfor 
tunate  in  entering  the  lists  with  these  two   last 
©pillions,  whilst  she  approves  the  first,  which  is 
the  same  with  them  ;  again,   as  her  manner  is, 
condemning  herself.,  and  expressing  approbation 
of  my  sentiments,  in  one  and  the  same  article. 

sc.  xni.        Let  us  now  return  to  the  passage  in  Ecclesias- 

ticus;  comparing  that  first  opinion,  which  you  de- 

Ecciesias-   c]are  to  be  approvable,  with  it  also,  as  we  have 
H^  now  done  with  the  other  two.     The  opinion  says, 
sumed,and  c  Freewill  cannot  will  good.'     The  passage  from 
expounded.  Ecciesiasticus  is  cited  to  prove,  that  <  Freewill  is 

nothing,  and  can  do  nothing/  The  opinion  which 
is  to  be  confirmed  by  Ecclesiasticus,  then,  de 
clares  one  thing,  and  the  passage  from  Eccle 
siasticus  is  alleged  to  confirm  another.  As  if  a 
man,  going  to  prove  that  Christ  is  Messias,  should 
adduce  a  passage  which  proves  that  Pontius 


Pilate  was  Governor  of  Syria ;  or  something  else,  SEC.XIII. 

which  is  as  wide  from  it  as  the  extreme  notes  of  the  """ 

double  octave.1  Just  such  is  your  proof  of  Free 
will  here  :  not  to  mention,  what  I  have  dispatched 
already,  that  nothing  is  here  clearly  and  certainly 
affirmed,  or  proved,  as  to  what  Freewill  is,  and  can 
do.  But  it  is  worth  while  to  examine  this  whole 

In  the  first  place,  he  says,  e  God  made  man  in 
the  beginning.'  Here  he  speaks  of  the  creation 
of  man,  and  says  nothing,  hitherto,  either  about 
Freewill,  or  about  precepts. 

It  follows  ;  '  and  left  him  in  the  hand  of  his  own 
counsel/  What  have  we  here  ?  Is  Freewill 
erected  here?  Not  even  here  is  any  mention 
made  of  precepts,  for  which  Freewill  is  required ; 
nor  do  we  read  a  syllable  on  this  subject,  in  the  his 
tory  of  the  creation  of  man.  If  any  thing  be  meant, 
therefore,  by  the  words  '  in  the  hand  of  his 
counsel,'  it  must  rather  be,  what  we  read  in  the 
first  and  second  chapters  of  Genesis  :  '  Man  was 
appointed  lord  of  the  things  which  were  made,  so 
as  to  have  a  free  dominion  over  them  •/  as  Moses 
says,  "  Let  us  make  man,  and  let  him  have  domi 
nion  over  the  fishes  of  the  sea,  &c."  Nor  can 
any  thing  else  be  proved  from  these  words.  For 
in  that  state,  man  had  power  to  deal  with  the 
creatures  according  to  his  own  will,  they  being 
made  his  subjects ;  and  he  calls  this  man's  coun 
sel,  in  opposition  to  God's  counsel.  But  after 
this,  when  now  he  has  declared  man  to  have  been 
thus  constituted  the  ruler,  and  to  have  been  left 
in  the  hand  of  his  own  counsel ;  he  goes  on, 

"  He  added  his  own  commands  and  precepts." 
To  what  did  he  add  them  ?  Why,  to  the  counsel 
and  will  of  man;  and  over  and  above  that  esta 
blishment  of  the  dominion  of  man  over  the  rest  of 

1  Quod  disdiapason  conveniat.]     A  Greek  proverb,  denoting 
the  greatest  possible  dissimilitude. 


PART  in.  the  creatures.  By  these  precepts,  he  took  away 
from  man  the  dominion  over  one  part  of  his  crea 
tures  (the  tree  of  the  knowledge  of  good  and  evil, 
for  instance),  and  rather  willed  that  it  should  not 
be  free.  Having  mentioned  the  adding  of  pre 
cepts,  he  next  comes  to  man's  will  towards  God, 
and  the  things  of  God. 

"  If  thou  shalt  be  willing  to  keep  the  command 
ments,  they  shall  preserve  thee,  &c."  From  this 
place,  then,  ( if  thou  shalt  be  willing/  the  ques 
tion  about  Freewill  begins.  So  that  we  may 
learn  from  the  Preacher,  that  man  is  divided  be 
tween  two  kingdoms ;  in  the  one  of  which,  he  is 
borne  along  by  his  own  will  and  counsel,  without 
any  precepts  or  commandments  from  God ;  to 
wit,  in  the  exercise  of  his  relations  to  the  inferior 
creatures.  Here  he  reigns,  and  is  lord,  as  having 
been  left  in  the  hand  of  his  own  counsel.  Not 
that  God  so  leaves  him,  even  here,  as  not  to  co 
operate  with  him  in  all  things ;  but  that  he  leaves 
him  a  free  use  of  the  creatures,  according  to  his 
own  will,  not  restricting  him  by  laws  or  injunc 
tions.  Just  as  if  you  should  say,  by  way  of  com 
parison,  '  The  Gospel  has  left  us  in  the  hand  of 
our  own  counsel,  to  rule  over  the  creatures,  and 
use  them  as  we  please  ;  but  Moses  and  the  Pope 
have  not  left  us  in  this  counsel,  but  have  re 
strained  us  by  laws,  and  have  rather  subjected  us 
to  their  wills.' — But  in  the  other  kingdom,  man 
is  not  left  in  the  hand  of  his  own  counsel,  but  is 
borne  along,  and  led  by  the  will  and  counsel  of 
God.  So  that,  as  in  his  own  kingdom,  he  is  borne 
along  by  his  own  will,  without  the  precepts  of 
another ;  so,  in  the  kingdom  of  God,  he  is  borne 
along  by  the  precepts  of  another,  without  his  own 
will.  And  this  is  what  the  Preacher  affirms, 
"  Re  added  precepts  and  commands  ;  If  thou 
wilt,  &c.  &c."m 

111  I  object  to  this  distinction,  as  I  have  already  done  to  the 
same  in  substance  (Part  ii.  Sect.  xxi.);  nor  can  I  believe  it  to 


If  these  things  then  be  quite  clear,  we  have  SEC.XIV. 

proved    that    this    passage    from    Ecclesiasticus  ~ 

makes  against  Freewill,  not  for  it ;  as  subjecting  Ecciesias- 
man  to  the  precepts  and  will  of  God,  and  with-  least  does 
drawing  him  from  his  own  will.     But  if  they  be  not  decide 
not  quite  clear,  I  have  at  least  made  out,   that  ^ui. " 
this  passage  cannot  be  brought  to  support  Free 
will,  as  being  capable  of  quite  a  different  interpre 
tation  from  theirs :  such,  for  instance,  as  I  have 
just  mentioned ;  which  is  so  far  from  being  ab 
surd,  that  it  is  most  sound,  and  is  consonant  to 
the  whole  tenour  of  Scripture  :  whereas  theirs  is 
repugnant  to  that  testimony,  and  is  fetched  from 
this  single  passage,  in  contradiction  to  the  whole 
volume  besides.    We  stand  firm,  and  without  fear, 
therefore,  in  our  good  sense  of  the  words,  which 

have  been  in  the  mind  of  the  Apocryphal  writer.  Man  had 
not  Freewill  given  to  him,  in  the  exercise  of  one  set  of  his  rela 
tions  (those  to  the  creatures,  for  instance) ,  more  than  in  another. 
Dominion  and  superiority  did  not  confer  Freewill.  He  was,  in 
reality,  made  accountable  for  his  use  of  the  creatures  ;  they  were 
not  given  to  him  to  do  what  he  pleased  with.  But,  if  it  had 
been  so,  this  would  not  have  prevented  his  liability  to  have  his 
will  moved  by  a  power  without  him.  Insubjection  and  unac- 
countahleness  are  of  a  perfectly  different  nature  from  Freewill. 
A  despot  may  be  ruled  within,  as  well  as  a  slave.  But,  taking 
the  writer  to  mean  that  he  was  left  to  do  his  own  will — this 
does  not  necessarily  imply  more  than  that  he  was  left  a  free 
agent  :  and  this  he  was  left,  with  respect  to  all  his  relations, 
higher  as  well  as  inferior  :  and  so  are  we.  The  difference  be 
tween  Adam's  state  before  his  fall,  and  ours  who  have  been  be 
gotten  out  of  him  since — after  having  fallen  in  and  with  him — 
consisteth  not  in  his  having  been  any  way  independent  of 
God — which  we  are  not — or  having  had  a  will  that  was  inac 
cessible  to  divine  control — which  ice  have  not — but  only  in 
his  ignorance  of,  and  freedom  from  evil.  He  knew  only 
good,  and  the  devil  had  as  yet  no  part  in  him.  But,  even  in 
that  state,  he  did  only,  and  only  could  do,  what  God  willed  that 
he  should  do ;  and,  though  without  excuse  in  choosing  evil 
(as  having  faculties  and  capacities,  and  being  placed  in  cir 
cumstances,  by  and  in  which  he  ought  at  once  to  have  rejected 
the  temptation),  did  so  choose,  through  the  operation  (not 
compulsory  indeed,  but  efficacious)  and  according  to  the  will,  of 
Him  who  doeth  all  things  :  whose  glory  as  well  as  preroga 
tive  it  is,  to  govern  a  world  of  free  agents. 



TART  in.  negatives   Freewill,   until   they   shall   have   con- 

firmed  their  affirmative,  harsh,  and  forced  one. 

/  When  the  Preacher  therefore  says,  "  If  thou 
shalt  be  willing  to  keep  the  commandments,  and 
to  maintain  acceptable  faith,  they  shall  preserve 
thee;"  I  do  not  see  how  Freewill  is  proved  by 
these  words.  The  verb  is  in  the  conjunctive 
inood  ('If  thou  wilt');  which  asserts  nothing  indi- 
catively.  Take  an  example  or  two.  '  If  the 
devil  be  God,  he  is  worthy  to  be  worshipped/ 
( If  an  ass  fly,  he  has  wings/  '  If  the  will  be  free, 
grace  is  nothing/  The  Preacher  should  have 
spoken  thus,  if  he  had  meant  to  assert  the  freedom 
of  the  will :  '  Man  can  keep  the  commandments  of 
God;7  or,  'Man  has  power  to  keep  the  command 

But  here  Diatribe  \vill  cavil,  that  '  the  Preacher, 
in  saying  "  If  thou  wilt  keep,"  intimates  that  there 
is  a  will  in  man  to  keep,  and  not  to  keep ;  for 
what  meaning  is  there,  in  saying  to  a  man  who 
has  no  will,  flf  thou  wilt/  Would  it  not  be 
ridiculous  to  say  to  a  man  that  is  blind,  '  If 
thou  wilt  see,  thou  shalt  find  a  treasure  ?'  or  to  a 
deaf  man,  ( If  thou  wilt  hear,  I  will  tell  thee  a 
pretty  story?'  This  would  be  only  laughing  at 
their  misery. 

I  answer;  these  are  the  arguments  of  human 
reason,  who  is  wont  to  pour  out  a  flood  of  such 
wise  sayings :  so  that  I  have  not  now  to  dispute 
with  the  Preacher,  but  with  human  reason,  about 
an  inference."  That  lady  interprets  the  Scriptures 
of  God  by  her  own  consequences  and  syllogisms  ; 
drawing  them  whither  she  will.  I  shall  undertake 
my  office  very  willingly,  and  with  full  confidence 
of  success,  because  I  know  that  she  chatters  no 
thing  but  what  is  foolish  and  absurd ;  the  most  of 

n  De  sequehf]  '  What  follows,  or  is  supposed  to  follow, 
from  an  assertion  proved  or  admitted,  but  is  not  the  immediate 
point  in  debate.'  (  Consequence/  '  deduction/  *  inference.1 


meant  by 
< If  thou 
wilt,  &c.' 


all,  when  she  sets  about  shewing  her  wisdom  on  SEC.  xv. 
sacred  subjects. 

Now  if,  in  the  first  place,  I  should  ask  how  it  is 
proved  to  be  intimated,  or  to  follow,  that  man  has 
in  him  a  will  that  is  free,  as  often  as  it  is  said  'If 
thou  wilt/  ' if  thou  shalt  do/  'if  thou  shalt  hear/ 
she  will  say,  '  because  the  nature  of  words,  and 
the  custom  of  speech  amongst  men,  seem  to  require 
so.'  She  measures  the  things  and  words  of  God, 
then,  by  the  things  and  usage  of  men.  What  can 
be  more  perverse  than  this ;  when  the  one  sort  of 
things  is  earthly,  and  the  other  heavenly?  Thus 
she  betrays  her  foolish  self;  how  she  thinks 
nothing,  but  what  is  human,  of  God. 

But  what  if  I  should  prove,  that  the  nature  of 
words  and  custom  of  speech,  even  amongst  men, 
is  not  always  such  as  to  make  those  persons 
objects  of  ridicule,  who  have  no  power  to  comply 
with  the  demand,  as  often  as  it  is  said  to  them, 
<  If  thou  wilt/  '  if  thou  wilt  do/  (  if  thou  wilt 
hear  ?'  How  often  do  parents  mock  their  chil 
dren,  by  bidding  them  come  to  them,  or  do  this  or 
that,  for  the  mere  purpose  of  making  it  appear 
how  utterly  incapable  they  are  of  doing  so,  and 
of  forcing  them  to  call  upon  the  parent  for  his 
helping  hand  !  How  often  does  the  faithful  phy 
sician  command  his  proud  patient  to  do  or  leave 
undone  things  which  are  either  impossible,  or 
noxious,  that  he  may  drive  him  to  that  knowledge 
of  his  disease,  or  of  his  weakness,  through  making 
trial  of  himself,  to  which  he  could  not  lead  him 
by  any  other  means  !  What  is  more  frequent, 
or  more  common,  than  words  of  insult  and  pro 
vocation,  if  we  would  shew,  either  to  friends  or  to 
enemies,  what  they  can  do,  and  what  they  cannot 
do?  I  mention  these  things,  only  by  way  of  ma 
nifesting  to  human  reason,  how  foolish  she  is  in 

O  9 

attaching  her  inferences  to  the  Scriptures;  and 
how  blind  she  is,  not  to  see  that  these  inferences 
are  not  always  realized,  even  in  human  words 


PART  in.  and  actions  :  yet,  if  she  but  see  them  fulfilled  now 
and  then,  presently  she  rushes  forwards  with  pre 
cipitation,  and  pronounces  that  they  take  place 
generally,  in  all  human  and  divine  forms  of  speech. 
Thus  she  contrives  to  make  an  universal  of  a  par 
ticular,  as  the  manner  of  her  wisdom  is. 
SEC. xvi.  Now,  if  God  deal  with  us  as  a  father  with  his 

childen,  to  shew  us  our  impotency,  of  which  we 

Us(;  °/       are  ignorant ;  or  as  a  faithful  physician,  to  make 

such  forms  «  '  1     J  .  ' 

of  address,  our  disease  known  to  us  ;  or  it  he  insult  us,  as  his 
enemies,  who  proudly  resist  his  counsel,  and  by 
proposing  laws  to  us  (which  is  the  most  con 
vincing  way  of  doing  it),  say,  '  Do,  hear,  keep;' 
or,  '  if  thou  shalt  hear,  ifthou  shalt  be  willing,  if 
thou  shalt  do;'  will  it  be  a  just  inference  from 
hence,  '  So  then  we  can  will  freely,  else  God  is 
mocking  us  ?'  Is  not  this  rather  the  inference, 
'  So  then  God  is  making  trial  of  us,  whether  we 
be  friends  or  foes;  that,  if  we  be  his  friends,  he 
may  lead  us  to  the  knowledge  of  our  impotency, 
by  the  law;  or,  if  we  be  proud  enemies,  then 
indeed  he  may  truly  and  deservedly  insult  and 
deride  us.'0  This  is  the  reason  why  God  gives 
;laws ;  as  Paul  teaches.1'  For  human  nature  is  so 
"blind  as  not  to  know  its  own  strength,  or  rather 
its  own  disease ;  and  is,  besides,  so  proud  as  to 
think  that  it  knows  and  can  do  all  things.  Now, 
God  has  not  any  more  effectual  remedy  for  this 

°It  is  not  Luther's  business  to  state  whence  this  difference 
of  reception  arises  ;  which  is  only  through  the  free  favour  of 
God,,  making  some  to  be  his  friends,  by  his  Spirit  working  in 
due  season,  whilst  he  leaves  others  in  their  native  enmity. 
Luther  would  not  hesitate  to  assign  this  cause ;  but  he  has 
here  only  to  do  with  the  fact,  that  the  Lord  tries  and  evinces 
these  different  characters  of  men,  by  such  calls  to  obedience. 

P  "  Therefore  by  the  deeds  of  the  law  there  shall  no  flesh 
be  justified  in  his  sight ;  for  by  the  law  is  the  knowledge 
of  sin."  (Rom.  iii.  20.)  "  Moreover,  the  law  entered  that  the 
offence  might  abound."  (Rom.  v.  20.)  "  Wherefore  then 
serveth  the  law  r  It  was  added  because  of  transgressions." 
(Gal.  iii.  19.)  "  Wherefore  the  law  was  our  schoolmaster  to 
bring  us  unto  Christ."  (Ibid.  24.) 


pride  and  ignorance,  than  the  propounding  of  his  sc.  xvir. 

law;  of  which   I    shall  say  more  in   its    proper  

place.  Let  it  suffice  to  have  taken  but  a  sip  of 
the  cup  here,  that  I  might  confute  this  inference 
of  foolish,  carnal  wisdom,  f If  thou  wilt — therefore 
the  will  is  free/  Diatribe  dreams  that  niau  is 
sound  and  whole;  just  such  as  he  is  in  the  sight 
of  his  fellow  men,  in  mere  human  affairs.  Hence 
it  is,  that  she  cavils  and  says,  '  Man  is  mocked  by 
such  words  as  '  if  thou  wilt,*  e  if  thou  wilt  do/ 
'if  thou  wilt  hear/  except  his  will  be  free/  But 
Scripture  declares  man  to  be  corrupt  and  captive ; 
and  not  only  so,  but  a  proud  despiser  of  God,  and 
one  ignorant  of  his  corruption  and  captivity.  So 
she  plucks  him  by  the  sleeve,  and  endeavours  to 
awaken  him  by  such  words  as  these,  that  he  may 
own,  even  by  sure  experience,  how  incapable  he 
is  of  any  of  these  things. 

But  I  will  become  the  assailant  myself  in  this  Diatribe 
conflict;  and  will  ask,  <  If  thou  dost  indeed  think,  !Ilshlcere 

•HIT  V»  i  •  11  ft*  m  her  m- 

Madani  Reason,  that  these  mterences  stand  good  (it 
thou  wilt — therefore  thou  canst  will  freely),  why  dost 
thou  not  follow  them  ?  Thou  sayest,  in  that  appro v- 
able  opinion  of  thine,  that  Freewill  cannot  will  any 
thing  good.  By  what  sort  of  inference,  then,  will  it 
at  the  same  time  flow,  as  you  say  it  does,  from  this 
passage, '  If  thou  shalt  be  willing  to  keep/  that  man 
can  will  freely,  and  cannot  will  freely  ?  Do  sweet 
water  and  bitter  flow  from  the  same  fountain  ? 
Are  you  not,  even  yourself,  the  greater  mocker 
of  man  here;  when  you  say  that  he  is  able  to  keep 
what  he  cannot  even  will,  or  wish  ?  It  follows 
therefore,  that  neither  do  you  on  your  part  think 
it  a  good  inference,  '  If  thou  wilt — therefore  thou 
canst  will  freely/  though  you  maintain  it  so  vehe 
mently:  or  else,  you  do  not,  from  your  heart, 
affirm  that  opinion  to  be  approvable,  which  main 
tains  that  man  cannot  will  good/ — Reason  is  so 
entrapped  in  the  inferences  and  words  of  her  own 
wisdom,  as  not  to  know  what  she  says,  or  what 


PART  in.  s}ie  jg  talking  about.  Unless  it  be  (as  is  indeed 
most  worthy  of  her),  that  Freewill  can  only  be 
defended  by  such  arguments  as  mutually  devour 
and  make  an  end  of  each  other  :  just  as  the  Midi- 
anites  destroyed  themselves,  by  a  mutual  slaugh 
ter,  whilst  making  war  against  Gideon  and  the 
people  of  God. 

Proves  But  let  in e  expostulate,  still  more  at  large,  with 

>o  much,  this  wise  Diatribe.  The  Preacher  does  not  say, 
'  If  thou  shalt  have  a  desire  or  endeavour  to  keep, 
which  is,  nevertheless,  not  to  be  ascribed  to  thine 
own  powers;'  as  you  collect  from  his  words;  but 
' If  thou  wilt  keep  the  commandments,  they  shall 
preserve  thee.'  Now,  if  we  wrould  draw  infer 
ences,  such  as  you  in  your  wisdom  are  wont  to  do, 
we  shall  infer,  ( therefore  man  can  keep  the  com 
mandments  :'  and  thus,  we  shall  leave  not  only  a 
little  bit  of  a  desire,  or  a  sort  of  endeavourling,  in 
man;  but  shall  ascribe  to  him  the  whole  fulness 
and  abundance  of  power  to  keep  the  command 
ments.  Else,  the  Preacher  would  be  mocking  the 
misery  of  man,  by  commanding  him  to  keep,  when 
he  knew  him  to  be  unable  to  keep.  Nor  would  it 
be  enough,  that  he  should  have  desire  and  endea 
vour  :  not  even  thus  would  the  Preacher  escape 
the  suspicion  of  using  mockery;  he  must  inti 
mate  that  he  has  in  him  a  power  of  keeping. 

Confirms  J3ut  let  us  suppose  this  desire  and  endeavour 
°f  Freewill  to  be  something.  What  shall  wre  say 
to  those  (the  Pelagians,  I  mean)  who,  from  this 
passage,  were  used  to  deny  grace  altogether,  and 
to  ascribe  every  thing  to  Freewill  ?  Without 
doubt,  the  Pelagians  have  gained  the  victory,  if 
/Diatribe's  consequence  be  allowed.  For  the 
words  of  the  Preacher  import  keeping,  and  not 
merely  desiring  or  endeavouring.  Now,  if  you 
shall  deny  to  the  Pelagians  the  inference  of '  keep 
ing  ;'  they  will,  in  their  turn,  much  more  properly 
deny  to  you  the  inference  of ' endeavouring:'  and, 
if  you  take  away  complete  Freewill  from  them, 


they  will  take  from  you  that  little  particle  of  it  sc.  xvn. 

which   you    say   remains ;     not   allowing  you   to  

claim  for  a  particle,  what  you  have  denied  to  the 
whole  substance.  So  that,  whatever  you  urge 
against  the  Pelagians,  who  ascribe  a  whole  to 
Freewill  from  this  passage,  will  come  much  more 
forcibly  from  us,  in  contradiction  to  that  little  bit 
of  a  desire  which  constitutes  your  Freewill/1  The 
Pelagians  too  will  so  far  agree  with  us  as  to  ad 
mit,  that,  if  their  opinion  cannot  be  proved  from 
this  passage,  much  less  can  any  other  be  proved 
from  it :  since,  if  the  cause  is  to  be  pleaded  by 
inferences,  the  Preacher  makes  the  most  strongly 
of  all  for  the  Pelagians ;  forasmuch  as  he  speaks 
expressly  of  entire  keeping.  i  If  thou  w  ilt  keep 
the  commandments/  Nay,  he  speaks  of  faith  also  : 
'If  thou  wilt  keep  acceptable  faith/  So  that,  by 
the  same  inference,  we  ought  to  have  it  in  em 
power  to  keep  faith  also  :  howbeit,  this  faith  is 
the  alone  and  rare  gift  of  God ;  as  Paul  says/ 

In  short,  since  so  many  opinions  are  enumerated 
in  support  of  Freewill,  and  there  is  not  one  of 
them  but  what  seizes  upon  this  passage  of  Eccle- 
siasticus  for  itself,  yet  those  opinions  are  different 
and  contrary  ;  it  must  follow,  that  they  deem  the 
Preacher  contradictory  and  opposite,  each  to  the 
other  severally,  in  the  self-same  words.  They 

i  Tutiim  libero  arbitrlo  tribuentibus."]  The  Pelagians  spake 
more  wisely  than  many  who  oppose  them.  They  maintained 
'  the  integrity  of  Freewill  ;'  an  absolute  power  of  willing  good. 
Freewill  is  Freewill ;  and,  if  there  be  any  thing  of  it  iu  man, 
there  is  the  whole  of  it. 

r  Luther  refers,  no  doubt,  to  Ephes.  ii.  8.  "  For  by  grace 
are  ye  saved  through  faith  ;  and  that  not  of  yourselves  :  it  is 
the  gift  of  God."  His  interpretation,  if  I  understand  the  text 
aright,  is  incorrect  :  it  is.  not  'faith'  that  is  spoken  of  as  the  gift 
of  God,  but  '  his  whole  salvation.'  The  truth  of  his  affirma 
tion,  however,  though  not  fairly  deducible  from  this  text, 
is  unquestionable  ;  and  may  be  shewn,  as  well  from  particular 
testimonies,  as  from  the  general  tenour  of  Scripture.  Matt. 
xvi.  17.  John  vi.  44,  G5.  Ephes.  i.  It).  Coloss.  ii.  12.  (to 
which  many  others  might  be  added)  are  decisive. 


PART  HI.  can,  therefore,  prove  nothing  from  him.     Still,  if 
-  that  inference  be  admitted,  he  makes  for  the  Pela 
gians  only,  against  all  the  rest  :  and   so  makes 
against  Diatribe  ;  who  cuts  her  own  throat  here.8 

sc  xvin  l*ut  I  renew  my  first  assertion  ;  viz.  that  this 
_  passage  from  Ecclesiasticus  patronises  none  ab- 
Conciude  solutely  of  those  who  maintain  Freewill;  but 
s?asticuslc"  °pP°ses  them  all.  For  that  inference,  '  if  thou 
proves  no-  wilt  —  therefore  thou  canst/  is  inadmissible;  and 
thing  for  ^e  |rue  understanding  of  such  passages  as  these 
\vhether'  is,  that,  by  this  word  and  the  like,  man  is  warned 
what  is  of  his  impoteiicy  ;  which,  as  being  ignorant  and 
derltoodof  Prou(^?  ^  ^  were  not  for  these  divine  warnings, 
Adam,  or  he  would  neither  own  nor  feel. 

°eneraii  ^^  ^iere  ^  sPea^^  n°t  °f  the  first  man  only,  but 
of  any  man,  and  every  man;  though  it  be  of  little 
consequence,  whether  you  understand  it  of  the 
first  man,  or  of  any  other  whatsoever.  For,  al 
though  the  first  man  was  not  impotent  through  the 
presence  of  grace;  still  God  shews  him  abun 
dantly  by  this  precept,  how  impotent  he  would  be 
in  the  absence  of  grace.  Now  if  that  man,  hav 
ing  the  Spirit/  was  not  able  to  will  good  ;  that  is, 

s  Suo  ipsius  glacUo  jugulatur.']     By  quoting   a  passage   for 
herself,  which  directly  contradicts  her. 

1  Cum  adesset  Spiritus.~\  Luther  assumes  that  Adam,  in  his 
creation  state,  had  the  Spirit  ;  of  which  there  is  no  proof,  and 
the  contrary  seems  evidently  to  have  been,  the  fact.  Made  per 
fect  after  his  kind,  it  was  no  part  of  his  creation  dues  or  gifts 
to  have  the  Spirit.  He  was  formed  to  glorify  God,  as  his 
creature  :  which  implies  a  substance  distinct  from,  and  exist 
ing  in  a  state  of  severance  from  his  Creator  ;  like  a  piece  of 
mechanism  put  out  of  the  hand  of  its  artificer.  He  was  left 
to  himself,  therefore,  having  his  own  high  moral  powers  and 
acquirements,  but  no  extrinsic  aid  ;  to  make  trial  and  to  shew, 
what  man  in  his  entireness  is,  and  what  he  would  become 
through  temptation,  if  not  inhabited  by  his  Creator.  This  trial 
and  manifestation  would  furnish  an  inference  with  respect  to 
other  creatures  ;  even  as  the  same  inference  had  already  been 
furnished  by  the  angelic  nature.  But  this  trial  could  not  have 
been  made,  and  this  exhibition  therefore  could  not  have  been 
effected,  if  he  had  possessed  the  Spirit  ;  or,  in  other  words,  if  he 
had  been  united  to  God.  So  united,  he  could  not  have  been 
overcome.  That  union,  therefore  (as  Luther,  and  others  with 


obedience  ;  while  as  his  will  was  yet  new,    and  sc.xviii. 

good  was  newly  proposed  to  him/  because  the  

Spirit  did  not  add  it;  what  could  we,  who  have 
not  the  Spirit,  do  towards  good,  which  we  have 
lost?  It  was  shewn  therefore,  in  that  first  man, 
by  a  terrible  example,  for  the  bruising  under  of 
our  pride,  what  our  Freewill  can  do  when  left  to 
itself;  yea,  when  urged  and  increased  continually, 
yet  more  and  more,  by  the  Spirit  of  God.  The 
first  man  could  not  attain  to  a  more  enlarged 
measure  of  the  Spirit,  of  which  he  possessed  the 
firstfruits,  but  fell  from  the  possession  of  those 
firstfruits.  How  should  we,  in  our  fallen  state, 
have  power  to  recover  those  firstfruits,  which 
have  been  taken  from  us  ?  Especially,  since  Satan 
now  reigns  in  us  with  full  power ;  who  laid  the 
first  man  prostrate  by  a  mere  temptation,  when 
he  had  not  yet  got  to  reign  in  him. — It  were  impos 
sible  to  maintain  a  stronger  debate  against  Free 
will,  than  by  discussing  this  text  of  Ecclesiasticus, 

;  in  connection  with  the  fall  of  Adam :  but  I  have  not 
room  for  such  a  descant  here,  and  perhaps  the 

;  matter  will  present  itself  elsewhere.  Meanwhile, 
let  it  suffice  to  have  shewn,  that  the  Preacher  says 
just  nothing  in  support  of  Freewill  here  (which  its 
advocates,  however,  account  their  principal  testi 
mony)  ;  and  that  this  and  similar  passages,  '  If 

him,  would  say),  was  dissolved-  the  Spirit  which  he  had 
possessed  was  withdrawn  during  his  temptation.  Then,  was 
any  longer  the  same  substance,  or  person,  which  had  re 
ceived  the  command  ?  On  this  representation,  the  command 
was  given  him,  having  the  Spirit ;  and  he  was  tried,  not  having 
he  Spirit. — So  demonstrable  is  it,  that  Adam  had  not  the  Holy 
^fhost ;  whose  in-dwelling  '  doth  not  appertain  to  the  perfection 
of  man's  nature.' — But  the  argument  from  Adam's  state  to  ours 
s  quite  strong  enough,  without  this  unwarranted  assumption  of 
Luther's.  He  that  was  just  come  out  of  the  hands  of  his 
Creator,  made  in  his  image,  and  pronounced  by  him  to  be 
very  good,'  could  not  stand  against  a  single  and  solitary  temp- 
ation  :  what  should  we  do  therefore  ? 

u  As  opposed  to  that  <  stale  and  rejected'  thing  which  good 
s  to  us. 


PART  in.  thou  wilt/  'if  thou  wilt  hear/  'if  thou  wilt  do/ 

declare  not  what  man  can  do,  but  what  he  ought 

to  do.v 

SEC.XIX.       Another  passage  is  cited  by  our  Diatribe  from 

the  fourth  chapter  of  Genesis,  where  the  Lord 

Gen.  iv.  7.  says  to  Cain,   "  The  desire  of  sin  shall  be  subject 

L  to  thee,  and  thou  shalt  rule  over  it."  <  It  is  shewn 
here,  says  Diatribe,  that  the  motions  of  the  mind 
towards  evil  may  be  overcome,  and  do  not  induce 
a  necessity  of  sinning/ 

This  saying,  '  that  the  motions  of  the  mind  to 
wards  evil  may  be  overcome/ is  ambiguous;  but 
the  general  sentiment,  the  consequence,  and  the 
facts  compel  us  to  this  understanding  of  it,x  that, 
'it  is  the  property  of  Freewill  to  overcome  its  own 
motions  towards  evil,  and  that  those  motions  do 
not  induce  a  necessity  of  sinning/  Why  is  it 
again  omitted  here,  ( which  is  not  ascribed  to  Free 
will'  ?y  What  need  is  there  of  the  Spirit,  what  need 
of  Christ,  what  need  of  God,  if  Freewill  can  over 
come  the  motions  of  the  mind  towards  evil  ?  What 
has  again  become  of  that  approvable  opinion, 
which  says  that  Freewill  cannot  even  will  good? 
Here,  however,  victory  over  evil  is  ascribed  to 

v  I  cannot  help  regretting  that  Luther,  after  the  example  of 
his  opponent,  has  given  so  much  space  to  this  Apocryphal  tes 
timony  from  Ecclesiasticus.  I  could  have  been  glad,  if  he  had 
not  only  stood  upon  his  right,  which  he  hints  at  in  the  opening 
of  his  discussion,  declining"  to  answer ;  but  had  used  the 
occasion  to  protest  against  the  honour  put  upon  this  book, 
and  the  rest  of  its  brothers  and  sisters,  by  binding  them  up  in 
our  Bibles  and  reading  them  in  our  churches. — The  collateral 
matter  of  the  argumentation,  however,  is  highly  valuable ; 
and  Luther  could  afford  to  make  his  adversary  a  present  of  an 
argument.  Here,  indeed,  he  may  almost  be  said  to  have  taken  a 
culvcrin  to  kill  flies  withal.  For,  is  it  not  Adam,  clearly,  of  whom 
the  Preacher  speaks  ;  whose  will  is  not  the  matter  in  debate  ? 
and  what,  as  we  have  seen,  is  said  even  of  that  will,  which 
might  not  be  said  of  ours  ?  It  was  left  free  to  choose  ;  and  if 
it  should  choose  good,  good  would  result  from  that  good. 

x  Vi  sentential,  consequential  e.t  rerum  hue  cogitiir. 

y  Referring  to  the  '  satis  probabilis  opinio  ;'  '  sed  non  relin- 
quat,  quod  suis  viribus  ascribat.'  See  above,  Sect.  vii. 


this  substance,  which  neither  wills  nor  wishes  SEC.XIX. 
good.  Our  Diatribe's  carelessness  is  beyond  all 
measure  here. — Hear  the  truth  of  the  matter  in 
few  words.  I  have  said  before,  man  has  it  shewn 
to  him,  by  such  expressions  as  these,  not  what  he 
can  do,  but  what  he  ought  to  do.  Cain  is  told, 
therefore,  that  he  ought  to  rule  over  sin,  and  to 
keep  its  lustings  in  subjection  to  himself.  But 
this  he  neither  did,  nor  could  do,  seeing,  he  was 
now  pressed  to  the  earth  by  the  foreign*  yoke  of 
Satan.  It  is  notorious,  that  the  Hebrews  fre 
quently  use  the  future  indicative  for  the  impera 
tive  :  as  in  the  twentieth  chapter  of  Exodus ;  f  Thou 
shalt  not  have  any  other  Gods,'  '  Thou  shalt  not 
kill/  'Thou  shalt  not  commit  adultery  /  and  num 
berless  such  like  instances.  On  the  contrary,  if 
the  words  be  taken  indicatively,  according  to 
their  literal  meaning/  they  would  be  so  many 
promises  of  God,  who  cannot  lie ;  and  so,  nobody 
would  commit  sin,  and  there  would  be  no  need 
therefore  of  these  precepts.  In  fact,  our  trans 
lator  would  have  rendered  the  words  better  in  this 
place,  if  he  had  said,  *  Let  its  desire  be  subject  to 
thee,  and  do  thou  rule  over  it/  Just  as  it  ought 
also  to  have  been  said  to  the  woman,  '  Be  subject 
to  thy  husband,  and  let  him  rule  over  thee/ — 
That  it  was  not  said  indicatively  to  Cain,  appears 
from  this  :  it  would  in  that  case  have  been  a  divine 
jpromise ;  but  it  was  not  a  divine  promise,  for 
the  very  reverse  happened,  and  the  very  reverse 
|was  done  by  Cain.b 

Alieno  impcrio.']   '  A  dominion  out  of  himself; '  so  that  he 
is  no  longer  his  own  master. 

Ut  sonant.']  The  sound,  as  opposed  to  the  sense,  or  real 

b  I  admit  Luther's  principle,  but  demur  to  the  application  of 
t,  both  here  and  in  the  parallel  to  which  he  refers,  Gen.  iii.  16. 
| .'he  original  passage  is  one  of  great  difficulty.  I  incline  to  the 
iterpretation  which  our  authorized  version  gives  to  it ;  and 
ifer  the  words  which  are  immediately  under  remark,  as  that 
ppears  to  do,  not  to  sin,  but  to  Abel.  "  If  thou  doest  well,  shalt 





Deut.  xxx. 
19.  con 

PART  in.  Your  third  passage  is  from  Moses,  "  I  have  set 
before  thy  face  the  way  of  life  and  of  death ; 
choose  that  which  is  good/'  &c.  &c.  f  What 
could  be  said  more  plainly/  says  Diatribe  ?  '  He 
leaves  freedom  of  choice  to  man/ 

I  answer,  what  can  be  plainer  than  that  you  are 
blind  here?  Prithee,  where  does  he  leave  free 
dom  of  choice?  In  saying,  ' choose?'  So  then, 
as  soon  as  Moses  says  f  choose/  it  comes  to  pass 
that  they  do  choose  !  Again,  therefore,  the  Spirit 
is  not  necessary :  and  since  you  so  often  repeat 
and  hammer  inc  the  same  things,  let  me  also  be 

them  not  be  accepted  ?  and  if  thou  doest  not  well,  sin  lieth  at 
the  door.  And  unto  thee  shall  be  bis  desire,  and  thou  shalt  rule 
over  him."  Well,  and  not  well,  have  relation  to  the  then 
known  will  of  God.  Was  Cain  ignorant,  with  what  sort  of 
offering  God  was  to  be  approached  ? — Whatever  might  be  said 
of  later  times,  Cain  must  have  heard  all  about  Eden,  the  ser 
pent  and  the  woman,  the  serpent's  seed  and  the  woman's 
seed  ;  and  must  have  seen  the  coats  of  skins.  Cain  despised 
""the  way;"  he  would  none  of  Christ.- — Then,  God's  words 
are  adapted  to  quiet,  and  to  instruct  him.  We  know  that  a 
man  can  no  more  come  by  Christ,  except  it  be  given  him  from 
above,  than  he  can  come  by  the  law.  But  this  was  not  the 
thing  to  be  shewn  him ;  he  was  to  be  reminded  of  the  alone 
way  of  access,  that  he  might  make  the  fullest  developement  of 
himself,  if  he  should  continue  to  neglect  and  despise  it  :  and, 
since  jealous  and  angry  fears  were  now  arising  in  his  mind  with 
respect  to  his  brother ;  chiefly,  lest  he  should  lose  the  earthly 
superiority  attached  to  his  primogeniture  ;  he  is  pacified  with 
an  assurance  (connected,  doubtless,  with  the  fore-mentioned 
condition),  that  tin's  dominion  should  remain  in  his  hands  ;  an 
assurance  conveyed  in  words  very  nearly  resembling  those 
by  which  Eve  was  warned  of  her  subjection  to  Adam.  The 
Septuagint  gives  another  turn  to  the  former  part  of  the  verse, 
but  clearly  refers  the  latter  as  I  do ;  and  so  in  Gen.  iii.  16. — 
According  to  this  view,  the  words  of  this  text  have  nothing  to 
do  with  Freewill,  though  it  seems  the  Hebrew  llabbins,  as 
well  as  Luther  and  Erasmus,  thought  they  had.  (See  Pole's 
Synops.  in  loc.) — If  they  must  be  referred  to  sin,  not  Abel ; 
Luther's  interpretation  is  correct,  and  his  answer  unanswer 
able- — If  the  words  be  taken  indicativcly ,  they  are  a  promise 
of  God,  which  was  broken  as  soon  as  made. 

c  Inculces.~]  A  figurative  expression  from  '  treading  in  with 
the  feet ; '  hence  applied  to  those  efforts  by  which,  like  the 
pavier  ramming  down  his  stones,  we  aim  to  drive  or  beat  our 


allowed  to  say  the  same  thing  many  times  over.  If  SEC.  xx. 

there  be  freeness  of  choice d  in  the  soul,  why  has  

your  approvable  opinion  said  that  the  free  will 
cannot  will  good  ?  Can  it  choose  without  will 
ing,  or  against  its  will? — But  let  us  hear  your 

It  would  be  ridiculous  to  say  to  a  man  standing 
in  a  street  where  two  ways  meet,  f  you  see  two 
ways,  enter  which  you  please ; '  when  only  one  is 

This  is  just  what  I  said  before,  about  the  argu 
ments  of  carnal  reason :  she  thinks  that  man  is 
mocked  by  an  impossible  precept ;  whereas  we 
say,  he  is  admonished  and  excited  by  it  to  see 
his  own  impotency.  Truly  then,  we  are  in  this 
sort  of  street;  but  only  one  way  is  open  to  us :  or 
rather,  no  way  is  open.e  But  it  is  shewn  us  by 
the  law,  how  impossible  it  is  for  us  to  choose  the 
one — that  leading  to  good,  I  mean — except  God 
give  his  Holy  Spirit:  how  broad  and  easy  the 
other  is,  if  God  allow  us  to  walk  in  it.  Without 
mockery  then,  and  with  all  necessary  gravity,  it 
would  be  said  to  a  man  standing  in  the  street, 
(  enter  which  of  the  two  you  please ; '  if,  either 
he  should  have  a  mind  to  appear  strong  in  his 
own  eyes,  being  infirm  ;  or  should  maintain  that 
neither  of  these  ways  is  shut  against  him. 

The  words  of  the  law  then,  are  spoken  not  to 
affirm  the  power  of  the  will,  but  to  enlighten  blind 
reason ;  that  she  may  see  what  a  nothing  her  light 

meaning  into  a  person's  head.  Erasrrms  not  only  repeats,  but 
pursues  long  desultory  arguments,  heaping  one  upon  another, 
to  prove  his  point. 

d  Libertns  eligcndi."]  Choice  there  must  be,    or  there   is  no 
will ;   but  that  choice  may  be  made  under  a  wrong  bias.     This  . 
is  properly  the  question  of  Freewill  ;  viz.  :   whether  the  will  be 
\uuler  such  a  bias,  or  not. 

e  Imo  nulla  patet.~]  Referring  to  what  he  has  said  before, 
'  about  God's  doing  every  thing  ; '  and  our  doing  all  we  do,  by 
necessity.  So,  even  the  way  of  evil  is  only  broad  and  easy, 
'  si  Deus  permittat.' 



PART  in.  is,  and  what  a  nothing  the  power  of  the  will  is. 
"  By  the  law  is  the  knowledge  of  sin,"  says 
Paul ;  he  does  not  say  the  '  abolition/  or  the 
*  avoidance/  of  it.  The  principle'  and  power 
of  the  law  has  for  its  essence  the  affording  of 
knowledge,  and  that  only  of  sin ;  not  the  display 
ing  of  any  power,  or  the  conferring  of  any. 

For  this8  knowledge,  neither  is  power,  nor 
confers  power,  but  instructs ;  and  shews  that  there 
is  no  power  in  that  quarter,  and  how  great  is  the 
infirmity  in  that  quarter.  For  what  else  can  the 
knowledge  of  sin  be,  but  the  knowledge  of  our 
infirmity  and  of  our  wickedness.  Nor  does  he 
say,  (  by  the  law  comes  the  knowledge  of  virtue, 
or  good :'  but  all  that  the  law  does,  according  to 
Paul,  is  to  cause  sin  to  be  known. 

This  is  that  passage  from  which  I  drew  my 
answer,  ( that  by  the  words  of  the  law  man  is  ad 
monished  and  instructed  what  he  ought  to  do, 
not  what  he  can  do  ;'  that  is,  to  know  his  sin,  not 
to  believe  that  he  has  some  power.  So  that,  as 
often  as  you  cast  the  words  of  the  law  in  my  teeth, 
I  will  answer  you,  my  Erasmus,  with  this  saying 
of  Paul;  "By  the  law  is  the  knowledge  of  sin," 
not  power  in  the  will.  Take  now  some  of  your 
larger  Concordances,  and  heap  together  all  the 
imperative  verbs  into  one  chaos  (so  they  be  not 
words  of  promise,  but  words  of  exaction  and  law), 
and  I  shall  presently  shew  you,  that  by  these  is 
always  intimated  not  what  men  do,  or  can  do,  but 
what  they  ought  to  do.  Your  grammar-masters, 
and  boys  in  the  streets,  know  this ;  that  by  verbs 

f  Tota  ratio  et  virtus  legisJ]  Rat.  a  word  of  very  extensive  and 
various  signification,  expresses  '  the  nature,  order,  object, 
structure,  and  relations  of  any  substance.'  'Principle'  seems 
best  to  express  it  here  :  as  comprehending  both  design  and 
constitution.  Rat.  et  virt.  The  law  is  both  framed  for  this 
purpose,  and  effects  it. 

e  I  insert  '  this  j'  because  the  two  ibis,  which  follow,  make 
it  plain,  that  it  is  not  knowledge  in  general,  but  this  knowledge 
in  particular,  of  which  he  speaks. 


of  the  imperative  mood  nothing  else  is  expressed,  SEC.XXI. 

but  what  ought  to   be  done :   what  is  done,   or  ' 

may  be  done,   must  be  declared  by  indicative 

How  comes  it  then,  that  you  theologians,  as  if 
you  had  fallen  into  a  state  of  second  childhood, 
no  sooner  get  hold  of  a  single  imperative  verb, 
than  you  are  foolish  enough  to  infer  an  indicative; 
as  if  an  act  were  no  sooner  commanded,  than  it 
becomes  straightway,  even  of  necessity,  a  thing 
done,  or  at  least  practicable.  For  how  many  things 
happen  between  the  cup  and  the  lip,1'  to  pre 
vent  what  you  have  ordered,  and  what  was  more 
over  quite  practicable,  from  taking  place :  such  a 
distance  is  there  between  imperative  and  indica 
tive  verbs,  in  common  and  most  easy  trans 
actions.  But  you' — when  the  things  enjoined, 
instead  of  being  near  to  us  as  the  lip  is  to  the 
cup,  are  more  distant  than  heaven  from  earth — 
and,  moreover,  impracticable — so  suddenly  make 
indicatives  for  us  out  of  imperatives,  that  you  will 
have  the  things  to  have  been  kept,  done,  chosen, 
and  fulfilled,  or  about  to  be  so,  by  our  own 
power ;  as  soon  as  ever  the  word  of  command  has 
been  given,  '  do,  keep,  choose.' k 

In  the  fourth  place,  you  adduce  many  like  verbs  Passages 
of  choosing,  refusing,  keeping;  as,  cif  thou  shalt  from^eut- 
keep/   ( if  thou  shalt  turn  aside/  '  if  thou  shalt  considered, 
choose,'  &cc.  &c.  from  the   third1   and   from   the 
thirtieth  chapter   of    Deuteronomy.     '  All  these 

h  Inter  os  et  offcim.']  '  The  mouth  and  the  cake  ;'  but  I  have 
preferred  the  more  common  proverb. 

1  Et  vos,~]  It  would  be  read  with  more  spirit  in  the  form  of 
a  question  : — '  And  do  you  so  suddenly  make,  &c.  ?' 

k  Luther  is  abundant  in  reply  to  this  passage  from  Deu 
teronomy.  1.  It  proves  too  much.  2.  Not  ridiculous,  if  the 
way  be  supposed  shut.  3.  The  law  gives  knowledge  of  sin. 
4.  Imperative  verbs  are  not  indicatives. 

1  The  reference  to  Deut.  iii.  appears  to  be  incorrect :  these 
expressions  are  all  found  in  the  xxxth  ;  and  the  like  to  them 
.n  xxvii.  xxviii.  xxix.  But  chap.  iii.  is  a  mere  narrative. 


PART  in.  expressions,  you  say,  would  be  unseasonable,  if 
•  man's  will  were  not  free  to  good/ 

I  answer,  you  also  are  very  unseasonable,  my 
Diatribe,  in  collecting  Freewill  from  these  verbs  ! 
For  you  professed  to  prove  only  desire  and 
endeavour  in  your  Freewill,  and  adduce  no  pas 
sage  which  proves  such  endeavour,  but  a  string 
of  passages,  which,  if  your  consequence  were 
valid,  would  assign  (  a  whole'  to  Freewill."1  Let 
us,  then,  distinguish  here  again  between  the 
words  adduced  from  Scripture,  and  the  conse 
quence  which  Diatribe  has  appended  to  them. 
The  words  adduced  are  imperative,  and  only 
express  what  ought  to  be  done.  For  Moses 
does  not  say,  you  have  strength  or  power  to 
choose,  but  '  choose,  keep,  do.'  He  delivers 
commands  to  do,  but  does  not  describe  man's 
power  of  doing.  But  the  consequence  added  by 
this  sciolous  Diatribe  infers,  '  therefore  man  can 
do  these  things ;  else  they  would  be  enjoined  in 
vain.'  To  which  the  answer  is,  c  Madam  Dia 
tribe,  you  make  a  bad  inference,  and  you  do  not 
prove  your  consequence :  it  is  because  you  are 
blind  and  lazy,  that  you  think  this  consequence 
follows,  and  has  been  proved.'  These  injunc 
tions,  however,  are  not  delivered  unseasonably, 
or  in  vain ;  but  are  so  many  lessons  by  which 
vain  and  proud  man  may  learn  his  own  diseased 
state  of  impotency,  if  he  try  to  do  what  is  com 
manded.  So  again,  your  simile  is  to  no  purpose, 
where  you  say ; 

6  Else  it  would  be  just  as  if  you  should  say 
to  a  man,  who  is  so  tied  and  bound,  that  he 
can  only  stretch  out  his  arm  to  the  left,  See ! 
you  have  a  cup  of  most  excellent  wine  at  your 
right  hand,  and  a  cup  of  poison  at  your  left : 

m  Totum,  opposed  to  particula  ejus  reliqua  ;  '  that  small  re 
maining  particle  of  Freewill  which  Erasmus  professed  to  sup 
port  and  prove :'  his  texts  would  make  it  an  integer,  not  a 
fraction.  See  abovej  Sect.  iv. 


stretch   out  your  hand  to  whichsoever  side  you  SE.  xxn. 

I  have  a  notion  that  you  are  mightily  tickled 
with  these  similes.  But  you  do  not  perceive  all 
the  while,  that,  if  your  similes  stand  good,  they 
prove  much  more  than  you  have  undertaken  to 
prove  ;  nay,  that  they  prove  what  you  deny,  and 
would  have  to  be  disapproved ;  namely,  that  Free 
will  can  do  every  thing.  For,  throughout  your 
whole  treatise,  forgetting  that  you  have  said 
( Freewill  can  do  nothing  without  grace/  you 
prove  that  *  Freewill  can  do  every  thing  without 
grace/  Yes,  this  is  what  you  make  out,  at  last,  by 
your  consequences  and  similes,  that,  either  Free 
will,  left  to  herself,  can  do  the  things  which  are 
said  and  enjoined,  or  they  are  idly,  ridiculously, 
and  unseasonably  enjoined.  Howbeit,  these  are 
but  the  old  songs  of  the  Pelagians ;  which  even 
the  Sophists  have  exploded,  and  you  have  yourself 
condemned.  Meanwhile,  you  show  by  this  forget- 
fulness  and  bad  memory  of  yours,  how  entirely 
you  are  both  ignorant  of  the  cause,  and  indif 
ferent  to  it.  For  what  is  more  disgraceful  to  a 
rhetorician,  than  to  be  continually  discussing  and 
proving  things  foreign  to  the  point  at  issue ;  nay, 
to  be  continually  haranguing  against  both  his 
cause  and  himself  ? " 

I  do  therefore  affirm  again,  that  the  words  of  His  Sc"P- 
Scripture  adduced  by  you  are  imperative  words, 
and  neither  prove  any  thing,  nor  determine  any  his  a 
thing,  on  the  subject  of  human  power,  but  pre-  scripture, 
scribe  certain  things  to  be  done,  and  to  be  left  too  much! 
undone:  whilst  your  consequences  or  additions, 

"  Contra  causam  et  scipsnm.~\  Not  only  in  opposition  to  the 
cause  lie  was  advocating,  but  even  to  his  own  admissions  and 
assertions. — But  what  a  string  of  charges  is  here  ! — Sciolist!  a 
mere  smattercr  in  learning  and  knowledge. — Pelagian  .'  which 
every  '  would-be'  orthodox  disclaims — negligent,  desultory,  un- 
discerningf  heartless !  quam  nihil  vel  intelligas  vel  afficiaris 
causse  ! 


PART  in.  and  your  similes,  prove  this,  if  they  prove  any 

thing,  that  Freewill  can  do  every  thing  without 

grace.  This  proposition,  however,  is  not  one  which 
you  have  undertaken  to  prove,  but  have  even  de 
nied  :  so  that  proofs  of  this  kind  are  nothing  else 
but  the  strongest  disproofs.  For  let  me  try  now, 
whether  it  be  possible  to  rouse  Diatribe  from  her 
lethargy.  Suppose  I  should  argue  thus:  when  Moses 
says,  ( choose  life,  and  keep  the  commandment;'  ex 
cept  a  man  can  choose  life  and  keep  the  command 
ment,  it  is  ridiculous  in  Moses  to  enjoin  this  upon 
man:  should  I  by  this  argument  have  proved,  that 
Freewill  can  do  nothing  good ;  or  that  it  has  endea 
vour,  but  not  of  its  own  power?0  No,  I  should 
have  proved,  by  a  pretty  bold  sort  of  comparison,11 
that,  either  man  can  choose  life  and  keep  the  com 
mandment,  as  he  is  ordered  to  do ;  or  Moses  is  a 
ridiculous  teacher.  But  who  would  dare  to  call 
Moses  a  ridiculous  teacher?  It  follows  therefore, 
that  man  can  do  the  things  commanded  him. 
This  is  the  way,  in  which  Diatribe  is  continually 
arguing  against  her  own  thesis ;  by  which  she 
engaged  not  to  maintain  any  such  position  as  this, 
but  to  show  a  certain  power  of  endeavouring  in 
Freewill :  of  .which,  however,  she  makes  little 
mention  in  the  whole  series  of  her  arguments,  so 
far  is  she  from  proving  it.  Nay,  she  rather  proves 
the  contrary  :  so  as  to  be  herself  rather,  the  ridi 
culous  speaker  and  arguer  every  where.q 

0  Sine  suis  viribus.']  He  plays  upon  '  the  approvable  opinion  ;' 
which  leaves  endeavour,,  but  does  not  leave  it  to  be  ascribed  to 
Freewill's  own  power. 

P  Satis  fort i  cont(:ntione.~]  Cont.  is  sometimes  used  in  a  rheto 
rical  sense  to  express  one  of  the  parts  of  an  oration ;  '  dispu- 
tatio  sive  disceptatio,'  opposed  to  '  quocstio  '  or  '  controversia ;' 
what  might  properly  be  called  '  the  argumentation:'  but  is 
here  used  in  another  rhetorical  sense,  to  express  '  contrast, 
comparison,  or  antithesis  -,'  '  Moses's  folly,'  set  in  array  against 
(  man's  power.' 

'i  She  imputed  this  to  Luther :  she  would  make  either  him 
or  Moses  absurd ;  the  real  absurdity  lay  in  adducing  argu 
ments.,  which  either  proved  nothing,  or  proved  the  opposite. 


With  respect  to  its  being  ridiculous,,  according  sc.  xxn. 
to  the  simile  you  have  introduced,  that  a  man  tied 
by  the  right  arm  should  be  bidden  to  stretch  out 
his  hand  to  the  right,  when  he  can  only  stretch  it  tied. 
out  to  the  left;  would  it  be  ridiculous,  I  ask — if 
a  man,  who  was  tied  even  by  both  hands,  should 
proudly  maintain,  or  ignorantly  presume,  that  he 
could  do  what  he  pleased  on  both  sides  of  him — 
to  bid  such  a  man  stretch  out  his  hand  to  which 
soever  side  he  likes  ;  not  with  the  design  of  laugh 
ing  at  his  captive  state,  but  that  the  false  pre 
sumption  of  his  own  liberty  and  power  may  be 
evinced,  or  that  his  ignorance  of  his  captivity  and 
misery  may  be  made  notorious  to  himself.  Dia 
tribe  is  always  dressing  up  for  us  a  man  of  her  own 
invention,  who  either  can  do  as  he  is  bidden,  or 
at  least  knows  that  he  cannot.  But  such  a  man 
is  no  where  to  be  found :  and  if  there  were  such 
a  man,  then  it  would  indeed  be  true,  that,  either 
impossibilities  are  enjoined  ridiculously,  or  the 
Spirit  of  Christ  is  given  in  vain/ 

But  the  Scripture  sets  before  us  a  man,  who  is  Uses  of 
not  only  bound,  wretched,  captive,  sick,  dead,  tela"' 
but  who  adds  this  plague  of  blindness  (through 
the  agency  of  Satan  his  prince)  to  his  other  ble- 
plagues,  and  so  thinks  himself  at  liberty,  happy, 
unshackled,  able,  in  health,  alive.  For  Satan 
knows,  that,  if  man  were  acquainted  with  his 
own  misery,  he  should  not  be  able  to  retain  a 
single  individual  of  the  race  in  his  kingdom;  be 
cause  God  could  not  choose  but  at  once  pity  and 
help  him,  when  now  he  had  come  to  recognise  his 
misery,  and  cry  out  for  relief:  seeing,  he  is  a 
God  so  greatly  extolled  throughout  the  whole 
Scripture,  as  being  near  to  the  contrite  in  heart, 
that,  in  the  sixty-first  chapter  of  Isaiah  (vv.  1 — 3.), 
Christ  declares  himself  to  have  been  even  sent 

r  If  he  can  do  what  is  bidden,  there  is  no  need  of  the  Spirit ; 
if  he  knows  he  cannot,  there  is  no  longer  any  use  for  pre 
scribing  it. 


PART  in.  into  the  world  by  Him,  for  the  purpose  of  preach- 

ing   the    Gospel   to   the   poor,    and   healing   the 

broken-hearted.  So  that,  it  is  Satan's  business  to 
keep  men  from  the  recognition  of  their  own 
misery;  and  to  keep  them  in  the  presumption  of 
their  own  ability  to  do  all  tfyat  is  commanded. 
But  the  legislator  Moses's  business  is  the  very 
opposite  of  this :  HE  is  to  lay  open  man's  misery 
to  him  by  the  law,  that,  having  hereby  broken  his 
heart,  and  confounded  him  with  the  knowledge  of 
himself,  he  may  prepare  him  for  grace,8  and  send 
him  to  Christ,  and  so  he  may  be  saved  for  ever. 
What  the  law  does,  therefore,  is  not  ridiculous, 
but  exceedingly  serious  and  necessary.1 

Those  who  are  now  brought  to  understand 
these  matters,  understand  at  the  same  time,  with 
out  any  difficulty,  that  Diatribe  proves  absolutely 
nothing,  by  her  whole  series  of  arguments ;  whilst 
she  does  nothing  but  get  together  a  parcel  of 
imperative  verbs  from  the  Scriptures,  of  which 
she  knows  not  either  the  meaning  or  the  use. 
Having  done  so,  she  next  adds  her  own  conse 
quences  and  carnal  similes,  and  thus  mixes  up 
such  a  potent  cake,"  that  she  asserts  and  proves 
more  than  she  had  advanced,  and  argues  against 
her  very  self.  It  would  not  be  necessary,  there 
fore,  to  pursue  my  rapid  course v  through  her 

s  Ad  gratiam.]  Not,  what  is  often  understood  by  grace,  e  the 
gift  of  the  Spirit ;'  but,  what  grace  truly  is  in  its  essence,  '  the 
free  favour  of  God.' 

*  Ridicula.  .seria.  .  neccssariaJ]  Ridiculous  may  have  respect 
either  to  the  laugher,  or  the  laughed  at ;  what  we  do  in  sport, 
or  suffer  as  objects  of  sport.  The  law  neither  mocks,  nor  makes 
a  fool  of  herself,  though  her  ordinances  be  impossible  to  man  ; 
neither  mocks,  by  calling  merely  to  expose  ;  nor  subjects  her 
self  to  derision,  by  speaking  Avhere  she  has  nothing  to  gain. 

u  Offam  seems  to  be  some  allusion  to  Cerberus.     ^En.  vi.  420. 

v  Percurrere.]  Luther  applies  the  same  term  to  his  review  of 
Erasmus's  preface,  implying  short  and  lively  animadversion 
rather  than  grave  and  elaborate  research.  So,  just  afterwards, 
'  recensere ;'  *  enumeration,'  or  (  recital,'  rather  than  '  inves 


several  proofs  any  further;  since  they  are  all  dis-  sc.xxm. 

missed  by  dismissing  one,  as  all  resting  upon  one  

principle.  Still,  I  shall  go  on  to  recount  some 
of  them,  that  I  may  drown  her  in  the  very  flood 
in  which  she  was  meaning  to  drown  me.x 

In  Isaiah  i.   (ver.  19.)  we  read,  "If  ye  shall  Isaiah  U9. 
have  been  willing,  and  shall  have  heard,  ye  shall  *j'x'4)1' 
eat  the  good  of  the  land:"  where  it  would  have  m. 'i.'jj. 
been  more  consistent,  as  Diatribe  thinks,  to  have  and  some 
said,  '  If  I  be  willing ; '  (  If  I  be  unwilling ; '  on 
the  supposition  of  the  will  not  being  free. 

The  answer  to   this   suggestion   is   sufficiently 
manifest,  from  what  has  been  said  above.     But  no  distinct 
what  congruity  would  there  be,  in  its  being  said  tlon  be~ 
here,  ( If  /  will,  ye  shall  eat  of  the  good  of  the  ana  Cos- 
land  ?'     Does  Diatribe,  of  her  excessive  wisdom,  rel>  &c- 
imagine  that  the  good  of  the  land  could  be  eaten 
against  the  will  of  God ;  or  that  it  is  a  rare  and 
new  thing  for  us    to    receive  good,    only    if  HE 
will  ? 

So  in  Isaiah  xxx.y  "  If  ye  seek,  seek  ;  turn  ye, 
and  come."  '  To  what  purpose  is  it  that  we  ex 
hort  those  who  have  no  power  at  all  over  them 
selves?  Is  it  not  just  as  if  we  should  say  to  a 
man  bound  with  fetters,  move  yourself  that  way  ;' 
says  Diatribe  ? 

Say  rather,  to  what  purpose  is  it  that  you 
quote  passages,  which,  of  themselves,  prove 
nothing,  but  by  adding  a  consequence ;  that  is, 
by  corrupting  their  meaning;  ascribe  every  thing 
to  Freewill :  whereas  only  a  sort  of  endeavour, 
and  that  not  ascribable  to  Freewill,  was  to  be 

x  Obruatur  copld,  seems  to  be  some  allusion  to  the  dra 
gon,  Rev.  xii.  15.  "  And  the  serpent  cast  out  of  his  mouth 
water,  as  a  flood,  after  the  woman,  that  he  might  cause  her  to 
be  carried  away  of  the  Hood." 

y  The  reference  seems  to  be  to  verse  21,  where  our  trans 
lation  has  it,  "  And  thine  ears  shall  hear  a  word  behind  thee, 
saying,  This  is  the  way,  walk  ye  in  it,  when  ye  turn  to  the  right 
hand,  and  when  ye  turn  to  the  left." 


PART  in.       <  I  would  say  the   same  of  that  testimony  in 

Isaiah  xlv.   "  Assemble  yourselves,   and  come  ; 

turn  to  me,  and  ye  shall  be  saved : "  and  of  that  in 
Isaiah  Hi.  "  Arise,  arise,  shake  thyself  from  the 
dust,  loose  the  chains  from  off  thy  neck."  Of  that 
also  in  Jeremiah  xv.  "  If  thou  wilt  turn,  I  will 
turn  thee ;  and  if  thou  wilt  separate  the  precious 
from  the  vile,  thou  shalt  be  as  iny  mouth."  But 
Zechariah  makes  still  more  evident  mention  of  the 
endeavour  of  Freewill,  and  of  the  grace  which  is 
prepared  for  the  endeavourer.  He  says,  "  Turn 
ye  to  me,  saith  the  Lord  of  Hosts,  and  I  will  turn 
to  you,  saith  the  Lord."z 

In  these  passages,  our  Diatribe  discovers  no 
difference  at  all  between  law  words  and  gospel 
words.  So  blind  and  ignorant  is  she  forsooth, 
that  she  does  not  see  what  is  Law  and  what  is 
Gospel.  Out  of  the  whole  of  Isaiah,  she  brings 
not  a  single  law  word,  except  that  first  one,  '  If 
ye  shall  have  been  willing.'  All  the  other  pas 
sages  are  made  up  of  gospel  words;  by  which  the 
contrite  and  afflicted  are  called  to  take  comfort 
from  offers  of  grace.a  But  Diatribe  makes  law 

z  Isa.  xlv.  20.  lii.  1,  2.  Jerem.xv.  19.  The  reference  made 
to  Zechariah  seems  properly  to  belong  to  Malachi  iii.  7.  See 
above,  Part  ii.  Sect.  xiii.  note  °. 

a  Verbo  gratia;  oblate.'}  The  expression,  '  offers  of  grace,'  is 
exceptionable,  as  implying  freeness  of  choice ;  in  direct  con 
trariety  to  Luther's  position  and  arguments.  The  truth  is, 
that,  whilst  he  abhorred  free  choice,  he  liked  free  offers.  I  could 
have  been  glad  if  he  had  expressed  his  meaning  more  defi 
nitely;  which  is  little  else  than  '  the  promises  of  God  received 
in  such  wise  as  they  be  generally  set  forth  to  us  in  holy  Scrip 
ture;'  that  is,  received  '  as  promises  of  free  favour  made  to 
persons  of  a  certain  character ;  and  not  to  individuals,  as  such.' 
What  but  these  are  the  very  and  legitimate  stay  of  God's  eter 
nally  foreknown,  elect,  predestinated,  and  now  quickened 
child,  in  the  day  of  his  tearing  and  smiting  ?  Is  he  to  hear  a 
voice,  or  see  a  vision,  or  receive  some  providential  token,  per 
sonal  to  himself;  before  he  presumes  to  call  upon  the  name 
of  the  Lord  ?  Are  not  these,  "  Ho,  every  one  that  thirsteth  ;" 
"  To  this  man  will  I  look  ;"  "  Come  unto  me,  all  ye  that  tra 
vail  and  are  heavy-laden;"  "The  same  Lord  over  all  is  rich 


words  of  them.  And  pray  what  good  will  he  do  sc.xxni. 
in  theology,  or  in  the  Scriptures,  who  has  not  yet 
got  so  far  as  to  know  what  the  Law  is,  and  what 
the  Gospel  is ;  or,  if  he  does  know,  disdains  to 
observe  the  difference  ?  Such  an  one  must  con 
found  every  thing ;  heaven  and  hell,  life  and 
death;  and  will  take  no  pains  to  know  any 
thing  at  all  about  Christ.  I  shall  admonish  my 
Diatribe  more  copiously  upon  this  subject  hereafter. 
Look  now  at  those  words  of  Jeremiah  and 
Zechariah  :  '  If  thou  wilt  turn,  I  will  turn  thee  / 
and,  (  Turn  ye  to  me,  and  I  will  turn  to  you.' 
Does  it  follow,  '  Turn  ye/  therefore  ye  can  turn  ? 
Does  it  follow,  (  Love  the  Lord  thy  God  with  all 
;hine  heart/  therefore  thou  shalt  be  able  to  love 
lim  with  all  thine  heart?  What  is  the  conclu 
sion,  then,  from  arguments  of  this  kind,  but  that 
Freewill  needs  not  the  grace  of  God,  for  she  can 
do  every  thing  by  her  own  power  ?  How  much 
more  properly  are  the  words  taken,  just  as  they 
stand ! b  '  If  thou  shalt  have  been  turned,  I  also 
will  turn  thee/  that  is,  if  thou  shalt  leave  off 
sinning,  I  also  will  leave  off  punishing ;  and  if, 
when  thou  art  converted,  thou  shalt  lead  a  good 
life,  I  also  will  do  thee  good,  and  will  turn  thy 
captivity  and  thy  evils.0  But  it  does  not  follow 

unto  all  that  call  upon  Him" — his  warrant  for  drawing  near, 
ind  his  first  words  of  consolation  ? — But  these,  at  last,  are  not 
'  offers'  of  grace ;  by  which  God  throws  himself,  as  it  were, 

the  knees  and  feet  of  his  creatures — subjecting  himself  to  a 
-efusal ;  nay,  with  full  assurance  that  he  must  receive  one, 
except  he  superadd  a  special  and  distinct  impulse  of  his  own 
;o  secure  acceptance — but  testimonies  of  his  own  mouth,  and 
land,  and  ordinances,  borne  to  those  souls  which  he,  in  his 
>wn  good  time,  has  made  ready  to  welcome  them ;  that  he 
vill  bind  up,  and  heal,  and  own,  these  poor  destitutes,  amidst 
he  gathered  remnant  of  his  heritage. 

b  Verba,  ut  posita  sunt.~]  '  Without  additions,'  such  as  Eras- 

c  I  do  not  know  that  any  reasonable  objection  can  be  made 
o  Luther's  paraphrase  of  Jeremiah  xv.  19,  and  Malachi  (he 
alls  him  Zechariah)  iii.  7.  13ut  the  (juotation  from  Jeremiah 


PART  in.  from  these  words,  that  a  man  can  turn  to  God  by 
his  own  power ;  nor  do  the  words  affirm  this : 
they  simply  say,  '  If  thou  art  converted ;'  admo 
nishing  man  what  he  ought  to  be.  Now,  when 
he  shall  have  known  and  seen  this,  he  would  seek 
the  power,  which  he  hath  not,  from  the  source 
whence  he  might  have  it,d  if  Diatribe's  Leviathan 
(her  appendage  and  consequence,  I  mean)  did  not 
come  in  the  way,  saying,  '  It  would  in  vain  be 
said,  "  Turn  ye,"  except  a  man  could  turn  by  his 
own  power/ — What  sort  of  a  saying  this  is,  and 
what  it  proves,  has  been  declared  abundantly. 

It  is  the  effect  of  stupor  or  lethargy  to  suppose 
that  Freewill  is  established  by  those  words,  ( Turn 
ye/  ( If  thou  shalt  turn,'  and  the  like ;  and  not  to 
perceive,  that,  upon  the  same  principle,  it  would 
also  be  established  by  this  saying,  "  Thou  shalt 
love  the  Lord  thy  God  with  all  thy  heart;"  since 
the  demand  in  the  one  case,  is  equivalent  to  the 
command*  in  the  other.  Nor  is  the  love  of  God, 
and  of  all  his  commandments,  less  required  than  our 
own  conversion  ;  since  the  love  of  God  is  our  true 
conversion.  And  yet  no  man  argues  Freewill 
from  that  commandment  of  love,  whilst  all  argue 

seems  perfectly  out  of  place  :  it  is  a  personal  matter  between 
the  Lord  and  his  Prophet,  a  converted  man  :  what  has  this  to 
do,  then,  with  the  question  of  Freewill  ? 

d  Qucerat  unde  possit.~]  I  have  been  inclined  to  connect 
these  words  with  the  preceding  sentence  ;  '  by  which  he  id 
admonished  what  he  ought  to  be  ;  and  having  understood  and 
discovered  this,  is  admonished  to  seek  the  power  which  he 
hath  not  whence  he  might  get  it ;  if  Diatribe  should  not  inter 
vene,'  &c. — The  punctuation,  however,  forbids  this  connection, 
and  it  does  not  appear  to  be  Luther's  meaning.  He  imputes  it 
to  Diatribe's  false  suggestion,  if  man,  warned  that  he  ought  to 
turn  to  God,  does  not  find  out  his  own  impotency,  and  seek  his 
conversion  from  Qod.  But  there  is  much  more  that  goes  to 
this  seeking,  than  Luther  seems  to  include  in  it:  under  the  clear 
est  light,  men  will  still  resist  conviction  ;  and  the  heart  to  seek, 
is  as  much  a  gift,  as  conversion  itself. 

e  More  literally,  '  since  the  meaning  of  the  commander  and 
the  demander  is  equal  on  both  sides.' 


it  from  those  words,    ( If  tliou  shalt  be  willing-/  sc.xxiv. 

f  If  tliou  sbalt  hear/   '  Turn/  and  the  like.      If 

then  it  folio weth  not  from  that  saying,  '  Love  the 
Lord  thy  God  with  all  thy  heart/  that  Freewill 
is  any  thing,  or  has  any  power,  assuredly  neither 
doth  it  from  those,  f  If  thou  wilt/  ( If  tliou  near 
est/  '  Turn  ye/  and  the  like :  which  either  de 
mand  less,  or  demand  less  vehemently,  than  that 
'  Love  God/  '  Love  the  Lord/ f 

Whatever  reply,  therefore,  is  made  to  that 
saying,  '  Love  God/  forbidding  to  conclude  Free 
will  from  it;  the  same  shall  be  made  to  all  other 
expressions  of  command  or  demand,  in  forbid- 
dance  of  the  same  conclusion:  namely,  that  by  the 
command  to  love  is  shewn  e  the  matter  of  the 
law/8  what  we  ought  to  do;  but  not  the  power  of 
the  human  will,  what  we  can  do  ;  or  rather,  what 
we  cannot  do.  The  same  is  shewn  by  all  other 
expressions  of  demand.  It  is  evident,  that  even 
the  schoolmen,  with  the  exception  of  the  Scotists 
and  the  Moderns,1'  assert,  that  man  cannot  love 
God  with  his  whole  heart.  From  whence  it  fol 
lows,  that  neither  can  he  fulfil  any  of  the  other 
commandments ;  since  they  all  hang  on  this,  as 
Christ  testifies.  Thus,  it  remains  as  a  just  con 
clusion,  even  from  the  testimony  of  the  scholastic 
(doctors,  that  the  words  of  the  law  do  not  prove 
,a  power  in  the  free  will,  but  show  what  we  ought 
to  do,  and  what  we  cannot  do. 

But  our  Diatribe,  with  still  greater  absurdity,  Mai.  m.  7. 
not  only  infers  an  indicative  sense  from  that  say-  morc  Par- 

•*       ticularly 


f  DillgK  Deum.  Ama  Dominum.~\  Dil.  and  am.  are  here  used 
;as  of  like  import  :  sometimes  they  are  put  in  contrast,  and 
ithat  variously  ;  diligo  being  sometimes  the  stronger,  and  some 
times  the  weaker  term.  In  distinguishing  them,  'amo'  may 
be  understood  to  denote  the  love  of  appetite;  and  'diligo' 
the  love  of  reason. 

5  Forma  legiy.~\  More  literally,  '  the  shape,  mould,  or  image 
:>f  the  law  ;'  '  what  is  comprehended  in  it.' 
h  Scotistis  et  Modcrnis.']     See  above,  Part  iii.  Sect.  ii.  notes 


PART  in.  ing  of  Zechariah,  '  Turn  ye  unto  me;'  but  main- 

tains,  that  it  even  proves  a  power  of  endeavouring 

in  Freewill,  and  grace  prepared  for  the  endea- 

And  here,  at  last,  she  remembers  her  '  endea 
vour  ;'  and,  by  a  new  art  of  grammar,  e  to  turn/ 
with  her,  signifies  the  same  as  f  to  endeavour :' 
so  that  the  sense  is,  '  Turn  unto  me /  that  is, 
f  endeavour  to  turn,'  and  '  I  will  turn  to  you / 
that  is,  '  endeavour  to  turn '  to  you.  At  last, 
then,  she  attributes  endeavour  even  to  God ;  in 
tending  perhaps  to  prepare  grace  for  His  endea- 
vourings  also.  For,  if  ( to  turn '  signifies  '  to 
endeavour '  in  one  place ;  why  not  in  all  ? 

Again,  in  that  passage  of  Jeremiah,  flf  thou 
shalt  separate  the  precious  from  the  vile/  she 
maintains  that  not  only  6  endeavour/  but  even 
'  freedom  of  choice/  is  proved :  what  she  had 
before  taught  us  to  have  been  lost,  and  to  have 
been  turned  into  a  necessity  of  serving  sin.  You 
see  then,  that  Diatribe  truly  possesses  a  free  will 
in  her  handlings  of  Scripture  ;  by  which  she  com 
pels  words,  of  one  and  the  same  form,  to  prove 
endeavour  in  one  place,  and  free  choice  in  ano 
ther;  just  as  she  pleases. 

But  bidding  adieu  to  these  vanities,  the  word 
c  turn '  has  two  uses  in  Scripture ;  a  legal,  and  an 
evangelical  one.  In  its  legal  use,  it  is  an  exacter 
and  commander ;  requiring  not  endeavour  only, 
but  change  of  the  whole  life;  as  Jeremiah  fre 
quently  uses  it,  saying,  '  Turn  ye  every  one  from 
his  evil  way  /  e  Turn  to  the  Lord  :'  where  it  evi 
dently  involves  an  exacting  of  all  the  command 
ments.  When  used  evangelically,  it  is  a  word  of 
divine  promise  and  consolation;  by  which  nothing 
is  demanded  from  us,  but  the  grace  of  God  is 
offered  to  us.  Such  is  that  of  Psalm  cxxvi. 
'  When  the  Lord  shall  turn  again  the  captivity 
ofZion/  and  that  of  Psalm  cxvi.  '  Turn  again 
then  unto  thy  rest,  O  my  soul !'  And  so  Zecharias 


contrives  to  dispatch  both  sorts  of  preaching  (law  as  sc.xxiv. 
well  as  grace)  in  a  very  short  compendium.  It  is  all 
law,  and  the  sum  of  the  law,  when  he  says,  '  Return 
unto  me :'  it  is  grace,  when  he  says,  f  I  will 
return  unto  you/  As  far,  therefore,  as  Freewill  is 
proved  by  that  saying,  '  Love  the  Lord/  or  by 
any  other  saying  of  any  particular  law;  just  so  far, 
and  no  farther,  is  it  proved  by  this  summary  law 
word  '  Turn/  It  is  the  part  of  a  wise  reader 
of  Scripture  then,  to  observe  what  are  law 
words,  and  what  are  grace  words ;  that  he  may 
not  jumble  them  all  together,  like  the  filthy 
Sophists,  and  like  this  yawning  Diatribe.1 

1  Luther's  distinction  between  law  words  and  gospel  words, 
as  applied  by  him  in  these  two  sections,  severally  and  com- 
paredly,  is  arbitrary,  indefinite,  and  unavailing.  Arbitrary ;  in 
asmuch  as  he  pretends  not  to  have  any  recognised  authority  for 
it,  and  applies  it  inconsistently ;  sometimes  calling  words  of 
exhortation  or  command  (  gospel  words  /  and  sometimes  con 
fining  that  term  to  words  of  promise,  as  opposed  to  them. 
'  Turn  ye  unto  me  '  is  a  law  word  ;  '  I  will  turn  to  you  '  is  a 
gospel  word.  Indefinite ;  because  he  gives  no  fixed  rule  by 
which  to  determine  what  is  one,  and  what  is  the  other  j  but, 
according  to  his  own  account,  leaves  it  to  the  discerning 
reader.  Unavailing  ;  because  a  gospel  precept  is  not  less  im 
practicable  than  a  law  one  to  the  free  will. — In  my  view,  he 
confounds  matters  ;  for  'return/  or  'repent/  is  surely  not  a 
law  precept,  but  a  gospel  one  :  the  law  knows  nothing  of 
repentance. — The  truth  is,  he  has  given  his  answer  to  all  these 
testimonies  already.  They  are  requirements  ;  call  them  law 
requirements,  if  you  will,  or  gospel  requirements  ;  they  are 
something  for  man  to  do  ;  and,  as  he  very  properly  argues, 
they  are  meant  to  shew  him  what  he  ought  to  do,  but  imply 
not  any  power  either  towards  Law,  or  towards  Gospel.  The  law 
is,  properly,  '  the  law  of  the  Ten  Commandments/  under 
which,  speaking  less  precisely,  may  be  comprehended  all  those 
precepts  which  fall  in  with  the  nature  and  design  of  that 
'  transcript  of  the  creation  law  of  man  /  but  nothing  which 
regards  his  relations  as  a  fallen,  or  as  a  restored  creature. — 
Luther  speaks  confusedly,  as  other  writers  do,  on  this  subject ; 
not  discerning  the  origin,  design,  and  nature  of  that  institu 
tion. — The  law  spake  not  till  Moses  ;  spake  only  to  the  Jews, 
or  then  visible  church  of  God ;  was  a  preparation  for,  and 
a  fore-preached  Gospel.  A  law  word  therefore,  rightly  under 
stood,  is  also  a  gospel  word  :  a  word  which  prepareth,  by  com 
pelling  a  sense  of  need ;  and  which— whilst  it  "  shuts  up  unto 




PART  in.       por  see  now?  11OW  she  treats  that  famous  passage 

£c  xxv    *n  Ezekiel  xviii.  "  As  I  live,  saith   the  Lord,  I 

'  would   not   the   death    of  a   sinner,    but   rather 

Ezek.xviii.  that  he  be  converted  and  live."     First,   '  It  is  so 

23.  con-     often   repeated,   says  she,  in  the  course  of  this 

dered>       chapter,     "  shall    turn    away,"    "  hath    done," 

"  hath  wrought ;"  in  respect  both  of  good  and 

evil.     Where  then  are  those  who  deny  that  man 

does  any  thing?' 

What  an  excellent  consequence  is  here  !  She 
was  going  to  prove  desire  and  endeavour  in  Free 
will  ;  but  she  proves  the  whole  act,  every  thing- 
done  to  the  uttermost  by  Freewill.  Where  now 
are  they  who  maintain  the  necessity  of  grace  and 
of  the  Holy  Spirit?  For  this  is  her  ingenious 
way  of  arguing :  e  Ezekiel  says,  If  the  wicked 
man  shall  turn  away  from  his  wickedness  and  do 
justice  and  judgment,  he  shall  live. — Why  then  the 
wicked  man  presently  does  so,  and  can  do  so.' 
Ezekiel  intimates  what  ought  to  be  done;  Diatribe 
considers  this  as  what  is  done,  and  has  been  done ; 
again  introducing  a  new  sort  of  grammar,  by 
which  she  may  teach  us  that  it  is  the  same  thing 
to  owe,  as  to  have — the  same  thing  to  be  enacted, 
as  to  be  performed — the  same  thing  to  demand, 
as  to  pay. 

After  this,  she  lays  hold  on  that  sweetest  of  gos 
pel  words,  '  I  would  not  the  death  of  a  sinner/ 
and  gives  this  turn  to  it;k  '  Does  the  holy  Lord 
deplore  that  death  of  his  people,  which  he  works 
in  them  himself?  If  he  would  not  the  death  of  a 
sinner,  verily,  it  is  to  be  imputed  to  our  own  wil 
if  we  perish.  But  what  can  you  impute  to  a  being, 

the  faith  which  should  afterwards  be  revealed,"  and  which  now 
has  been  revealed — impliedly  promises  and  exhibits  Him  who 
was  to  be,  and  who  now  has  been  and  is,  its  fulfiller  ami 

k  Sic  versat>~\  Vers.  implies  a  forced  application  of  it ;  as  if  yov 
should  turn  a  body,  that  is  already  in  motion,  out  of  its  natural 
Bourse  j  or  give  motion  to  one  that  is  at  rest. 


who  has  no  power  to  do  any  thing,  either  good  or  sc.xxvi. 

Pelagius  also  sang  just  the  same  sort  of  song; 
when  he  ascribed  not  desire  and  endeavour  only, 
but  complete  power  of  fulfilling  and  doing  every 
thing  to  Freewill.  For  these  consequences  prove 
this  power,  as  I  have  before  said,  if  they  prove  any 
thing;  and  therefore  fight  as  stoutly,  and  even 
more  so,  against  Diatribe  herself  (who  denies 
this  power  in  Freewill,  and  sets  up  endeavour 
only),  as  against  us  who  deny  Freewill  altogether. 
But  without  dwelling  upon  her  ignorance,  I  will 
state  the  matter  as  it  really  is. 

It  is  a  gospel  word,  and  a  word  of  sweetest  The  true 
consolation  to  poor  miserable  sinners,  when  Eze-  ineanins 
kiel  says,  (e  I  would  not  the  death  of  a  sinner,  xviiL  23. 
but  rather  that  he  should  be  converted  and  live,  stated. 
by  all  means."  As  is  that  of  the  thirtieth  Psalm 
also,  "  For  his  wrath  is  but  for  a  moment,  and 
his  will  towards  us  life  rather  than  death."  And 
that  of  the  thirty-sixth  Psalm,  "How  sweet  is  thy 
mercy,  Lord  I"  Also,  "  Because  I  am  merciful." 
And  that  saying  of  Christ,  in  Matthew  xi.  "  Come 
unto  me,  all  ye  that  labour,  and  I  will  refresh 
you."  Also  that  of  Exodus,  "  I  do  mercy  to 
them  that  love  me,  unto  many  thousands."  Nay, 
what  is  almost  more  than  half  of  the  Scripture 
but  mere  promises  of  grace,  by  which  mercy,  life, 
peace,  and  salvation  are  offered  to  men  ? '  And 
what  other  import  have  words  of  promise  than 
this,  ' '  I  would  not  the  death  of  a  sinner  ?"  Is  it 
not  the  same  thing  to  say,  '  I  am  merciful/  as  to 
say,  i  I  am  not  angry/  '  I  do  not  wish  to  punish/ 
*  I  do  not  wish  you  to  die/  *  I  wish  to  pardon 
you/  ( I  wish  to  spare  you  ?'  Now,  if  these 
divine  promises  did  not  stand  in  the  word,  to 
raise  up  those  whose  consciences  have  been 
wounded  with  the  sense  of  sin,  and  terrified  with 

1  See  above,  Sect  xxiii.  note  a. 


PART  in.  the  fear  of  death  and  judgment,  what  place  would 

there  be  for  pardon,  or  for  hope  ?     What  sinner 

would  not  despair  ?  But,  as  Freewill  is  not 
proved  by  other  words  of  pity,  or  promise,  or 
consolation,  so  neither  is  it  proved  by  this,  "I 
would  not  the  death  of  a  sinner." 

But  our  Diatribe,  again  confounding  the  dis 
tinction  between  law  words  and  words  of  promise, 
makes  this  place  of  Ezekiel  a  law  word,  and  ex 
pounds  it  thus :  (  I  would  not  the  death  of  a 
sinner ;' that  is,  '  I  would  not  that  he  should  sin 
mortally,  or  become  a  sinner  guilty  of  death ; 
but  rather  that  he  should  turn  away  from  his  sin, 
if  he  hath  committed  any,  and  so  should  live/  For, 
if  she  did  not  expound  it  so,  it  would  not  serve 
her  purpose  at  all :  but  such  an  exposition  en 
tirely  subverts  and  withdraws  this  most  persua 
sive  word  of  Ezekiel,  '  I  would  not  the  death  of 
a  sinner/  If  we  are  determined  so  to  read  and 
understand  the  Scriptures,  by  the  exercise  of  our 
own  blindness,  what  wonder  if  they  be  obscure 
and  ambiguous?  For  he  does  not  say,  ' I  would 
not  the  sin  of  a  man/  but  '  I  would  not  the  death 
of  a  sinner;'  clearly  intimating,  that  he  speaks  of 
the  punishment  of  sin,  which  the  sinner  is  expe 
riencing  for  his  sin ;  that  is,  the  fear  of  death.  Yes; 
He  raises  up  and  consoles  the  sinner,  when  now 
laid  on  this  bed  of  affliction  and  despair,  that  he 
may  not  quench  the  smoking  flax,  or  break  the 
bruised  reed,  but  may  excite  hope  of  pardon  and 
salvation  :  that  so  he  may  rather  be  converted 
(converted,  I  mean,  to  salvation  from  the  punish 
ment  of  death)  and  live ;  that  is,  be  happy,  and 
rejoice  in  a  quiet  conscience."1 

For   this  also    must  be  observed,  that,  as  the 

m  His  state  as  a  sinner  is  a  state  of  eternal  death,  the  just 
punishment  of  his  sin  ;  and  of  this  state  he  has  the  beginning 
in  his  now  realizing  apprehensions  of  it.  When  converted, 
he  is  delivered  from  this  state  of  punishment ;  and  when  he 
lives,  he  is  brought  into  the  joy  of  this  changed  state. 


voice  of  the  law  is  sounded  forth  only  over  those  sc.xxvn 

who  neither  feel  nor  acknowledge  their   sin  (as  

Paul  speaks  in  Rom.  iii.  "  By  the  law  is  the 
knowledge  of  sin");  so  the  word  of  grace  comes 
but  to  those  who,  feeling  their  sin,  are  afflicted 
and  tempted  to  despair.  Thus  it  is,  that,  in  all  law 
words,  you  see  sin  charged  by  shewing  us  what 
we  ought  to  do  :  just  as,  in  all  words  of  promise, 
on  the  other  hand,  you  see  the  misery,  which 
sinners  (that  is,  those  who  are  to  be  raised  up  from 
their  dejection  by  them)  labour  under,  intimated  : 
as  here,  the  word  '  I  would  not  the  death  of  a 
sinner '  expressly  names  death  and  the  sinner ; 
the  very  evil  which  is  felt,  as  well  as  the  very 
man  who  feels  it.  But  in  this  word  '  Love  God 
with  all  thy  heart'  there  is  pointed  out  the  good  we 
owe,  not  the  evil  we  feel;  that  we  may  be  brought 
to  acknowledge  how  incapable  we  are  of  doing 
that  good. 

So  then,  nothing  could  have  been  more  unaptly  Ezek.xviii. 

adduced  in  support  of  Freewill,  than  this  passage  2.3<  n!?a" 
,.          T«     i  •   i          i  •   i  f    i  A  ,    >i  i    tives  Free- 

irom  Jbzekiel ;   which  even  tights  against  it  most  wiii,  in- 

lustily.  For  herein  is  implied,  how  Freewill  is  stead  of 
affected,  and  what  it  is  able  to  do,  when  sin  has  pl° 
been  discovered,  and  when  now  the  matter  is  to 
turn  itself  to  God :  it  is  herein  implied,  I  say, 
that  it  could  do  nothing  but  fall  into  a  still  worse 
state,  adding  desperation  and  impenitence  to  its 
other  sins,  unless  God  should  presently  come  to 
its  succour,  and  should  recall  and  raise  it  up,"  by 
his  word  of  promise.  For  God's  eagerness  in 
promising  grace  to  restore  and  raise  up  the 
sinner,  is  a  very  mighty  and  trustworthy  argu 
ment,  that  Freewill  of  herself  cannot  but  fall  from 
bad  to  worse ;  and,  as  the  Scripture  says,  "  to 

1  Rcvocaret  et  erigeret.']  Revoc.  implies  '  departure  ;'  the 
soul  has  gone  further  and  further  off  from  God,  through  de 
spair  of  mercy  :  erig.  implies  '  fallen,'  '  thrown  down/  '  pros 
trated  j'  like  Saul  before  the  witch  of  Endor. 


PART  in.  the  nethermost  hell."0  Do  you  think  that  God  is 
so  fight-minded  as  to  pour  out  words  of  promise 
thus  fluently,  when  they  are  not  necessary  to  our 
salvation.,  for  the  mere  pleasure  of  talking?  You 
see  then  from  this  fact,  that  not  only  do  all  law 
words  stand  opposed  to  Freewill,  but  even  all 
words  of  promise  do  utterly  confute  it.  In  other 
words,  the  whole  Scripture  is  at  war  with  it.  So 
that  this  saying  ( I  would  not  the  death  of  a 
sinner'  has  no  other  object,  as  you  perceive,  than 
that  of  preaching  and  offering  divine  mercy 
through  the  world  ;p  which  none  but  those  who 
have  been  afflicted  and  harassed  to  death  receive 
with  joy  and  gratitude.  These  do  so,  because  the 
law  has  in  them  already  fulfilled  its  office,  by 
teaching  the  knowledge  of  sin :  whilst  those  who 
have  not  yet  experienced  this  office  of  the  law, 
and  who  neither  acknowledge  their  sin,  nor  feel 
their  death,  despise  the  mercy  promised  in  that 

0  The  Psalms  abound  with  expressions  of  this  sort :   see  es 
pecially  the  38th  and  88th  ;    from   the  latter  of  which  these 
words  appear  to  be  a  quotation.     "  For  my  life  draweth  nigh 
unto  the  grave  (v.  3) ;  or,  according  to  the  older  version,  "  to 
hell."  (v.  2.) 

i"  See  above,  note  a.  The  account  I  have  there  given  of 
Luther's  meaning  is  abundantly  confirmed  here.  Mercy  is  to 
be  preached,  and  what//e  calls  '  offered,'  generally  to  all  men; 
but  only  those  in  whom  the  law  has  done  its  office  (and  whom 
did  Luther  understand  by  these,  but  God's  elect  ?)  will  receive 
it.  His  offer,  therefore,  is  a  nugatory  offer  to  all  but  the 
elect ;  and  these  must  receive  ;  not  '  physically '  must,  but 
'  morally.' 

1  Luther's  answer  to  Erasmus's  argument  from  Ezek.  xviii. 
23.  is  threefold.     1.  It  proves  too  much.     2.  It  proves  no  more 
than  other  gospel  words  ;  that  is,  words  of  promise  and  mercy. 
3.  Such  words  prove  against  Freewill,  by  implying,  that  without 
them  man  could  only  despair. 

See  above,  note  ',  where  I  have  objected  to  this  distinction 
between  law  words  and  gospel  words,  and  to  the  statements 
generally  made  respecting  the  Law,  as  though  it  were  opposed 
to  the  Gospel.  Luther  is  chargeable  here  with  arguing  '  per 
sequelam,'  for  which  he  so  much  blames  Erasmus  ;  '  God's 


But,  as  to  why  some  are  touched  by  the  law  s.xxvm. 
and  others  not/  so  that  the  former  take  in,  and  the 
latter  despise,  the  grace  offered;  this  is  another 

word  of  promise  proA'es  that  man  could  only  despair  without 
it.' — The  true  answer  to  Erasmus's  argument  from  this  text 
(which,  according  to  Luther's  distinction,  is  a  gospel  word — but 
then  there  is  quite  as  much  supernatural  help  necessary  to 
make  a  gospel  word  availing,  as  to  fulfil  a  law  one — )  is,  that  it 
proves  nothing  on  either  side.  Inferences  may  be  drawn  both 
ways  ;  against  as  well  as  for,  and  for  as  well  as  against :  but 
the  affirmation  respects  only  the  mind  of  God.  He  declares 
that  he  wills  not  death.  What  does  this  assert  concerning  the 
natural  powers  of  man  ? — For  a  more  full  view  of  the  doctrine 
set  forth  in  this  and  like  texts,  and  of  their  place  in  the  great 
scheme  of  God-manifestation,  see  the  next  Section  and  its  notes. 
r  Luther  has  given  what  he  considers  the  true  answer  to 
Erasmus's  objection  drawn  from  this  text ;  '  it  is  a  gospel 
word,  for  the  consolation  of  the  law-stricken  ;'  and  declares 
that  we  have  no  right  to  ask  any  more  questions.  I  do  not 
approve  the  exact  point  to  which  he  brings  the  debate,  nor  can 
I  agree  with  him  that  it  ought  to  end  just  here.  Luther 
speaks,  and  many  others  like  him,  as  if  only  the  law  (meaning 
thereby  the  law  of  the  Ten  Commandments)  could  do  the 
office  of  abasing  and  prostrating  man  ;  which,  in  effect, 
assumes  that  the  law  was  given  to  man  from  the  beginning, 
and  that  Moses's  giving  of  it  was  but  a  republication  :  else  how 
were  those  saints  emptied  of  self  and  prostrated,  who  lived 
before  Moses  •  such  as  Abel,  Enoch,  Noah,  and  the  rest  ?  But 
what  proof  is  there  of  the  law  having  been  given  from  the 
beginning  ?  Express  proof  is  afforded  in  Rom.  v.  that  the  law 
was  not  till  Moses.  "  For  until  the  law  sin  was  in  the  world  : 
but  sin  is  not  imputed  when  there  is  no  law.  Nevertheless 
death  reigned  from  Adam  to  Moses,  &c."  (vv.  13,  14.)  The 
truth  is,  it  is  not  the  law,  but  the  Holy  Ghost  (using  the  law, 
it  is  true,  ?is  his  instrument  more  generally,  where  it  has  been 
given,  but  by  no  means  universally  so  using  it) — who  needeth 
not  the  law,  but  has  proofs  enough  to  supply  of  man's  sin  ;  of  his 
"  earthly,  sensual,  devilish  "  mind  ;  without  having  recourse 
to  that  summary  of  creation  duty — that  humbles,  empties,  and 
makes  ready  for  the  manifold  Scripture  declarations  of  God's 
entire  readiness  to  receive  the  penitent  freely.  These  are 
indeed  made  such  of  God,  and  can  only  be  made  such  by  him  j 
though  it  is  not  his  plan  usually  to  tell  us  how  we  have  come, 
and  alone  can  come,  to  this  mind,  when  he  testifies  his  love  and 
good-will  towards  it.  So  that  the  question  arising  from  this 
admitted  state  of  things,  '  some  receive,  others  do  not  receive, 
this  and  like  gospel  words,'  is  not  properly  why  some  are  law- 
stricken  ;  or,  more  correctly,  why  some  are  prostrated,  and 
self-emptied,  and  self-despairing ;  but  why  some  have  the 



bewail  the 
death  he 

PART  in.  question,  and*  one  not  treated  by  Ezekiel  in  this 

place.     He  speaks  of  God's  preached  and  offered 

mercy,  not  of  that  secret  and  awful  will  of  his,  by 
the  counsel  of  which  he  ordains  whom  and  what 
sort  of  persons  he  wills  to  be  made  capable  of 
receiving,  and  to  become  actual  participants  of 
his  preached  and  offered  mercy.  This  will  of 
God  is  not  the  object  of  our  researches,  but  of 
our  reverent  adorati'on  ;  as  being  by  far  the  most 
venerable  secret  of  the  divine  majesty,  which  he 
keeps  locked  up  in  his  own  bosom,  and  which  is 
much  more  religiously3  prohibited  to  us,  than  the 
Corycian  caves  to  the  countless  multitude. 

When  now  Diatribe  cavillingly  asks,  ( whether 
the  holy  Lord  bewails  that  death  of  his  people 
which  he  produces  in  them  himself?  a  suggestion 
too  absurd  to  be  entertained :' 

I  answer,  as  I  have  already  done,  we  must 
argue  in  one  wise  concerning  God,  or  the  will  of 

Holy  Ghost,  and  others  have  not^  which  is,  in  other  words, 
why  is  there  '  an  election  of  grace  :' — I  cannot  agree  with 
Luther,  that  we  have  no  right  to  ask  this  question ;  or,  in 
other  words,  that  the  Scripture  does  not  afford  an  answer  to  it; 
for  here  is  the  secret  of  God. 

If  it  be  asked  why  such  a  man  is  elect,  and  such  a  man  is 
not  elect,  it  is  most  true,  we  have  no  answer ;  this  is  God's 
secret ;  AVC  have  nothing  to  do  with  it.  But  if  the  question  be, 
why  are  there  elect  and  non-elect,  we  have  to  do  with  it,  and 
can  give  an  answer  :  it  is  to  the  manifestation  of  God  ;  which  is 
the  end  of  all  his  counsels,  and  of  all  his  operations. — For 
some  observations  on  Luther's  accepted  aphorism  (  Quae  supra 
nos,  nihil  ad  nos,'  and  upon  '  his  apparent  setting  out  of  two 
Gods/  with  one  of  which  we  have  nothing  to  do  ;  and  for  the 
correct  answer  to  Erasmus's  insidious  question,  '  Does  God 
deplore  &c.'  see  notes  \  v,  x,  which  follow. 

s  Religiosius.']  'By  religious  considerations.' — The  multitude 
might  look  into  the  entrance ;  priests  might  enter  into  the 
penetralia ;  but  the  multitude  might  not  go  in  to  explore:  if 
they  did,  they  were  filled  with  terrors  ;  appalling  sights  con 
founded  them  :  just  so,  and  with  still  more  fearful  apprehen 
sions  of  a  religious  nature,  we  are  prohibited,  says  Luther, 
from  attempting  to  penetrate  the  secret  of  God.  But  the  ques 
tion  is,  where  this  secret  begins  ?  Luther  says,  '  in  the  fact, 
that  some  are  touched  by  the  law.,  and  others  not.' 


God,  insofar  as  that  will  is  proclaimed  to  us,  s.xxvnr. 
revealed,  offered  to  our  acceptance,  made  the 
ground  of  worship;  and  in  another  wise,  concern 
ing  God,  insofar  as  he  is  unproclaimed,  unre- 
vealed,  unoffered,  and  unworshipped.  So  far  as 
God  hides  himself,  and  chooses  to  be  unknown  by 
us,  we  have  nothing  to  do  with  him.  Here  is  the 
true  application  of  that  saying,  'What  is  above 
us,  is  nothing  to  us/  And  lest  any  one  should 
suppose  this  to  be  my  distinction,  let  him  know 
that  I  follow  Paul,  who  writes  to  the  Thessa- 
lonians  concerning  Antichrist  (2  Thess.  ii.  4.) 
"  That  he  would  exalt  himself  above  all  that  is 
proclaimed  of  God,  and  that  is  worshipped  ;"' 

1  Super  omnem  Devon pracdicatum et  cuUum.~\    Literally,  'above 
all  the  proclaimed  and  worshipped  God.'  I  question  the  sound 
ness  of  Luther's  interpretation  of  this  text,  and  of  the  argu 
ment    consequently,  which  he  draws   from  it;  although  the 
distinction  which  he  labours  to  establish  is,  with  some  modifi 
cation  and  amplification,  the  root  of  the  answer  to  the  objec 
tion.     "Who  opposeth  and  exalteth  himself  above  all  that  is 
called  God,  or  that  is  an  object  of  worship,"  is  the  more  correct 
rendering-  of  the  original  text.     The  meaning  seems  to  be,  that 
this  Antichrist  would  both  oppose  himself  to,  and  exalt  him 
self  above,  every  object  of  worship,  both  true  and  false  ;  '  every 
being  that  is  called  God,  and  every  substance  which  is  wor 
shipped.'     It  has  therefore  nothing  to  do  with  distinct  views 
and  considerations  respecting  the  true  God ;  but  only  marks 
the  extravagant  claims  which  this  Antichrist  would  make,  and 
which  would  be  allowed  by  his  votaries,  as  compared  with  the 
several  objects  of  worship  received  in  the  world. — The  word  of 
God,  however,  doth  clearly  recognise  a  distinction  between 
God,   regarded  as  the  legislator,  governor,  and  judge  of  his 
moral  creation — or  in  any  other  relations  which  he  may  have 
been  pleased  to  assume  towards  the  whole,  or  certain  parts,  of 
that  creation — and  God  regarded  as  he  is  in  himself,  and  as 
separated  from  such  relations  :   as  also,  between  that  will  of 
His  which  he  hath  revealed  for  our   obedience    (what    may 
therefore  be  called  his  legislative  will),  and  that  free,  infinite, 
and  eternal  will  of  His,  from  which  this  legislative  will  has 
emanated,  and  by  which,  in  perfect  consistency  with  all  his 
assumed  relations,   and  with  that  of  legislator  amongst  the 
rest,  he   regulates  his  own  conduct   (what  may  therefore  be 
called,    by  way  of  distinction,   his  personal   will)  :    in  other 
words,  between  his  commands  and  his  mind. — God,  who  made 
the  worlds,   the  alone  Being,  subsisted  in  his  trinity  of  co-» 


PART  HI.  plainly  intimating,  that  a  man  might  be  exalted 
above  God,  so  far  as  he  is  proclaimed,  and  wor- 

equal  persons,  infinite,  and  all-blessed,  before  he  made  them. 
Is  it  presumptuous  to  say  why  he  made  them  ?  Has  he  not 
unequivocally  told  us  ?  His  end  is,  as  it  must  be,  seated  in 
himself.*  He  will  shew  himself — WHAT  HE  is — so  far  as  infinite 
can  be  shewn  to  finite,  to  certain  moral  and  intelligent  crea 
tures,  whom  he  will  make  capable  of  apprehending,  adoring, 
and  enjoying  him,  in  their  measure.  Hence  the  whole  counsel, 
process,  series,  and  results  of  creation  ;  in  which  I  include  all 
that  belongs  to  Creator  and  creature-ship.  Hence  the  true  dis 
tinction  between  the  hidden  and  revealed  God  :  which  is 
properly  no  other  than  God  the  revealer  and  God  the  revealed; 
creation  in  this  wide  extent  being  only  God's  revealer  3  and 
having  in  reality  revealed  much  of  him,  whilst  there  is  much 
at  last  in  God  which  is  not,  cannot  be  revealed.  Thus,  we  see 
that  this  hidden  God,  or  rather  this  absolute  God  (so  called 
because  not  circumscribed  by  relations  ;  which  relations,  how 
ever,  can  only  be  such  as  he  has  seen  fit  to  assume  ;  and  which 
he  has  seen  fit  to  assume,  for  the  one  great  end  of  self-manifes 
tation),  is  the  same  God  with  the  revealed  and  circumscribed 
God  ;  and  that,  so  far  from  being  an  unknown  God  in  this 
regard,  he  has  revealed  himself  in  his  relative  and  circum 
scribed  capacity,  for  the  very  purpose  of  making  himself 
known  (so  far  as  the  incomprehensible  can  be  made  known) 
in  this  absolute  and  uncircumscribed  capacity. 

So,  again,  with  respect  to  his  secret  and  his  revealed  will ;  or, 
as  I  have  more  correctly  distinguished  them,  his  personal  and 
his  legislative  will ;  whilst  these  are  distinct,  they  are  neither 
opposed  to  each  other,  nor  unconnected  with  each  other — his 
legislative  Avill  subserves  his  personal  will,  and  is  his  ordained 
and  specially-devised  instrument  for  accomplishing  it  :  by 
which  accomplishment,  his  great  purpose,  in  submitting  him 
self  to  his  various  creator  relationships  (to  wit,  self-manifest 
ation)  is  achieved. t 

Luther  does  not  seem  to  have  apprehended  the  union  and 
concordance  of  these  two  distinct  views,  in  which  both  God 
and  his  will  are  set  forth  to  us,  whilst  he  so  strongly  marks 
their  distinctness ;  and  thus,  his  answer  (not  being  the  whole 
truth;  that  is,  not  being  THE  TRUTH;  which  consists  in  an  har 
monious  combination  of  many  parts)  has  an  air  of  evasion  and 
sophistry  (to  which  he  seems  not  to  have  been  insensible  him 
self),  and  is,  in  reality,  unsatisfying  and  repulsive.  Is  it  true, 
that  the  proverb,  '  What  is  above  us,  is  nothing  to  us,'  has  its 
rightful  application  here  ?  Is  it  true,  that  we  have  nothing  to 

*  See  Vaughan's  Calvinistic  Clergy  defended,,  p.  64 — 73.  2d  Ed. 

•\  In  the  observations  which  follow,  1  do  not  confine  myself  to  the  words 
immediately  under  review,  but  comprehend  the  whole  of  Luther's  expres 
sions  and  reasonings  in  this  and  the  three  succeeding  paragraphs. 


shipped ;  that  is,  above  that  word  and  worship  s.xxvni. 
by  which  God  is  made  known  to  us,  and  main- 

do  with  this  God  of  majesty,  as  Luther  calls  him  ;  the  absolute 
God  ?  What  is  the  knowledge  of  God — that  last,  highest,  best 
gift  of  promise — but  the  knowledge  of  this  God  ?  the  communica 
tion  of  which  is,  as  we  have  seen,  the  very  end  of  creation  and 
of  revelation. — Again  ;  is  it  true,  that  the  revealed  God,  or 
relative  God,  wills  only  life  ?  or,  according  to  Luther's  own 
way  of  stating  it,  that  God  has  revealed  himself  in  his  word 
only  as  that  God  who  offers  himself  to  all  men,  and  would  draw 
all  men  unto  himself? — Why  then  docs  he  tell  us,  in  that  self 
same  word,  that  in  very  deed  for  this  cause  he  had  raised  Pharaoh 
up,  for  to  shew  in  him  His  power;  and  that  His  name  might  be 
declared  throughout  all  the  earth  ? — That  it  was  of  the  Lord  to 
harden  the  hearts  of  the  Canaanites,  that  they  should  come 
against  Israel  in  battle,  that  he  might  destroy  them  utterly, 
and  that  they  might  have  no  favour,  but  that  he  might  destroy 
them,  as  the  Lord  commanded  Moses  ? — That.  Hophni  and 
Phinehas  hearkened  not  unto  the  voice  of  their  father,  because 
the  Lord  would  slay  them  ? — That  he  smells  a  sweet  savour  of 
Christ  in  them  that  perish  ? — That  whom  he  will  he  hardeneth  ? — 
That  there  are  those  ordained  of  old  to  condemnation  ? — Those 
appointed  to  stumble  at  the  stone? — Those  whom  he  has  com 
manded  to  fill  up  the  measure  of  their  iniquities  ? — That  he  is, 
in  short,  a  potter  having  power  over  the  clay,  and  using  that 
power  ? — Has  he  proclaimed  all  this  concerning  himself  in  his 
word  ;  does  he,  moreover,  make  that  word  his  great  instru 
ment  of  bringing  these  things  to  pass ;  and  is  it  true  never 
theless,  that  his  word  stands  in  contrast,  nay  direct  opposi 
tion,  to  himself,  so  that  we  are  wisely  counselled  to  attend  to 
his  word  in  contrast,  and  even  in  opposition,  to  God  who  gave 
it  ? — Had  Luther  discerned  the  simple  end  of  creation  and 
revelation,  '  God  manifesting  himself  as  what  he  really  is  in 
his  essence  '  (in  which  essence,  hatred  of  that  which  is  con 
trary  to  himself  is  as  much  a  part  as  lore  of  that  which  is  like 
himself)  ;  and  seen  that  by  means  of  creation  and  revelation, 
God  is  actually  effecting  this  end — he  would  not  have  talked  of 
salvation  being  the  revealed  God  s  alone  work ;  nor  have  said 
that  we  have  to  do  with  his  word,  but  not  with  himself ;  nor  have 
warned  us  that  we  have  nothing  to  do  with  His  inscrutable  will 
(including  therein  all  that  Luther  includes  therein) — when  that 
inscrutable  will  is  made  matter  of  instruction  in  his  word,  and 
is  declared  to  be  what  he  is  continually  fulfilling  in  us ;  what 
the  Lord  Jesus  thanks  his  Father  for ;  and  what  his  people 
find  to  be  their  great  source  of  light,  and  strength,  and  joy. — 
How  remarkable  it  is,  that  Luther  should  here  silence  his 
gainsayer  with  "  Nay,  but  O  man,  who  art  thou  that  repliest 
against  God  V  when,  with  the  interval  of  only  a  single  verse, 
the  Holy  Ghost  had  furnished  him  with  a  clue  to  the  whole 


PART  in.  tains  intercourse  with  us.  But.,  if  God  be  re 
garded,  not  as  he  is  an  object  of  worship,  and 
as  he  is  proclaimed,  but  as  he  is  in  his  own 
nature  and  majesty,  nothing  can  be  exalted  above 
him,  but  every  thing  is  under  his  powerful  hand. 

God  must  be  left  to  himself  then,  so  far  as  he 
is  regarded  in  the  majesty  of  his  own  nature ;  for 
in  this  regard  we  have  nothing  to  do  with  him ; 
nor  is  it  in  this  regard  that  he  hath  willed  to  be 
dealt  with  by  us :  but,  so  far  as  he  is  clothed  with 
his  word,  and  displayed  to  us  thereby;  that  word, 
by  which  he  has  offered  himself  to  our  acceptance; 
that  word,  which  is  his  glory  and  beauty,  and 
with  which  the  Psalmist  celebrates  him  as  clothed; 
so  far,  and  so  far  only,  we  transact  with  him.  In 
this  regard,  we  affirm  that  the  holy  God  does  not 
bewail  that  death  of  his  people,  of  which  he  is 
himself  the  worker  in  them;  but  bewails  that 
death  which  he  finds  in  his  people,  and  is  taking 
pains  to  remove  it.  For  this  is  what  the  pro 
claimed  God  is  about,  even  taking  away  sin  and 
death,  that  we  may  be  saved.  For  "he  hath  sent 
his  word  and  healed  them."11  But  the  God 
which  is  hidden  in  the  majesty  of  his  own 

counsel  of  God,  and  with  an  answer  to  those  very  questions 
which  he  says  it  is  not  lawful  to  ask,  or  possible  to  get  resolved. 
"  What  if  God,  willing-  to  shew  his  wrath,  and  to  make  his  power 
known,  endured  with  much  long  suffering  the  vessels  of  wrath 
fitted  to  destruction  :  And  that  he  might  make  known  the  riches 
of  his  glory  on  the  vessels  of  mercy,  which  he  had  afore  prepared 
unto  glory,  even  us,  whom  he  hath  called,  not  of  the  Jews  only, 
but  also  of  the  Gentiles  r" — Luther  both  speaks  and  means 
incorrectly  here  ;  but  he  says  rather  more  than  he  means.  It 
is  not  against  the  sober,  hallowed  use  of  the  knowledge  of  this 
inscrutable  will  (for  though  there  be  that  which  is  inscrutable 
in  it,  there  is  also  that  in  it  which  may  be  known,  for  he  has 
told  it  to  us),  but  against  those  who  denied,  or  confounded,  or 
impugned,  or  reviled  these  distinctions,  and  would  hear  no 
thing  of  his  sovereign  majesty,  and  of  his  secret  counsel,  that 
he  is  aiming  his  dart  here. 

u  Psalm  cvii.  20.  Luther  applies  this  healing  '  to  all  men  j* 
but  the  Psalmist  declares  it  only  of  '  those  who  cry  unto  the 
Lord  in  their  trouble  and  in  particular  dispensations  of  his 
hand.' — This  is  not  all  men. 


nature,  neither  bewails  nor  takes  away  death ;  but  s.xxvni. 
works  life  and  death,  and  all  things  in  all  things/  

v  Yes — and  works  life  and  death,  and  all  things  in  all  things, 
through  the  agency  of  that  proclaimed,  or  relative  God ;  and 
in  perfect  consistency  with — yea,  by  means  of — that  legisla 
tive  *  will,  which  regulates  man's  duty  as  his  moral  creature. 
It  is  as  the  proclaimed  or  relative  God,  not  as  the  hidden  or 
absolute  God,  that  he  both  saves  and  destroys  j  and  this,  by 
means  of  his  legislative  enactments,  not  in  contradiction  to 
them.  The  power  which  he  gives  to  his  elect  and  saved,  and 
which  he  withholds  from  the  reprobate  and  damned,  is  distinct 
from  these  legislative  enactments  ;  and,  whilst  it  proceeds 
from  the  relative  God,  proceeds  not  from  him  in  his  legisla- 
torial  relation,  but  in  another,  which  is  distinct  from  and  not 
commensurate  with  it,  although  its  subjects  be  also  subject  to 
that  relation,  and  to  its  requirements.  It  is  no  part  of  the 
legislator's  office  to  give  power,  or  to  withhold  it.  He  may 
do  either.  He  may  work  any  thing,  every  thing,  upon, 
around,  above,  beneath  him,  so  he  but  leave  the  subject  of 
his  enactments  a  free  agent :  and  this  God  does,  and  ever  has 

Thus  it  was  in  creation  strictly  so  called ;  God, having  assumed 
the  relation  of  Creator  to  man,  gave  him  a  law  (Gen.  ii.  17.) 
"But  of  the  tree  of  the  knowledge  of  good  and  evil,  thou 
shall  not  eat  of  it ;  for  in  the  day  that  thou  eatest  thereof 
thou  shalt  surelydie."  It  was  no  part  of  his  relation,  as  Creator, 
either  to  withhold  temptation  from  his  creature,  whom  he  had 
"  made  upright,"  "  in  his  own  image,"  "  good,"  "  very 
good  "  (but,  as  we  have  before  noticed,f  not  having  the  Holy 
Ghost,  and  therefore  not  held  as  by  a  chain  to  God,  but  sub 
sisting  in  a  state  of  severance  from  him)  ;  nor  yet  to  sustain 
him  by  new  powers  (additional  to  those  which  he  had  received 
at  his  creation),  in  a  crisis  of  temptation.  The  result  was  that 
he  fell ;  and  that  the  whole  human  race  (which  had  been 
created  in  him,  and  of  which  the  several  individuals  had  a  dis 
tinct  personal  subsistence  in  him,  and  were  parts  of  his  sub 
stance,  when,  having  first  apostatized  in  heart,  he  did  after 
wards  put  forth  his  hand,  and  did  take,  and  did  eat)  shared  in 
his  ruin. — It  is  by  the  instrumentality  of  this  law  then,  that 
God  both  saves  whom  he  personally  wills  to  save,  and  destroys 
whom  he  personally  wills  to  destroy  :  saving  those  to  whom, 
by  a  super-creation  relation  which  was  given  them  in  Christ 
Jesus  before  the  world  began,  he  vouchsafes  his  special  grace; 
and,  destroying  those  from  whom,  in  perfect  consistency  with  all 
creation  dues  and  obligations,  he  withholds  the  same. 

*  By  '  legislative,'  I  shall  be  understood  to  mean  all  which  can  be 
called  '  enactment,'  as  given  by  God,  of  whatever  kind ;  whether  to  one 
nation,  or  to  the  whole  world ;  whether  Law  or  Gospel.  See  note  '  above. 

t  Sect,  xviii.  note '. 


PART  in.  For,  when  acting  in  this  character,  he  does  not 

bound  himself  by  his  word,  but  has  reserved  to 

himself  the  most  perfect  freedom  in  the  exercise  of 
his  dominion  over  all  things. 

But  Diatribe  beguiles  herself  through  her  igno 
rance,  making  no  distinction  between  the  pro 
claimed  God,  and  the  hidden  God  ;  that  is,  be 
tween  the  word  of  God,  and  God  himself.  God 
does  many  things  which  he  has  not  shewn  us  in 

Thus  it  was  in  God's  dealings  with  the  nation  of  Israel,  and 
with  his  visible  church,  as  for  a  season  co-extensive  with 
that  nation.  When  now  he  had  formed  the  seed  of  Abraham 
into  a  nation,  and  had  assumed  the  relation  of  king  to  that 
people,  he  gave  them  a  law  ;  by  which,  instrumentally,  he  kept 
them  for  his  own,  so  long  as  it  was  his  personal  will  to  keep 
them,  and  scattered  them  when  it  was  the  counsel  of  his  per 
sonal  will  to  scatter  them.*  By  the  same  law  instrumentally,  He, 
in  their  ecclesiastical  relation,  saved  whom  he  would  save, 
through  the  bestowal  of  a  grace  which  was  not  of  their  covenant; 
whilst  he  at  the  same  time  destroyed  whom  he  would  destroy, 
through  the  withholding  of  that  grace,  in  perfect  consistency 
with  the  provisions  of  the  same. 

Thus  it  is  also  in  the  Gospel  Church,  and  in  the  commanded 
preaching  of  the  Gospel  to  all  nations,  and  tongues,  and 
people.  God,  in  the  relation  of  the  offended  sovereign  of  the 
human  race,  commandeth  all  men  every  where  to  repent; 
giving  them  what  may  be  called  the  law  of  repentance  and 
faith,  and  demanding  of  them  a  state  of  mind  which  is  suited 
to  their  condition  as  fallen  and  guilty  creatures.  '  Repent  ye, 
and  believe  the  Gospel.' f  By  this  legislative  will  of  his, 
instrumentally,  he  fulfils  the  counsels  of  his  personal  will ; 
saving  whom  he  has  predestinated  to  save,  and  destroying 
whom  he  has  predestinated  to  destroy. 

*  Israel,  like  Adam  in  Paradise,  broke  the.  law  nearly  as  soon  as  it  was 
given  him ;  but,  by  so  doing,  he  prepared  the  way  for  all  God's  future 
dealings  with  him. 

•\-  Implicitly,  but  not  explicitly,  this  is  the  demand,  and  the  alone  demand, 
which  God  has  made  upon  man,  even  the  whole  human  race,  since  the  Fall ; 
and  shall  continue  to  be  so,  till  his  mystery  be  finished  by  the  Lord's  second 
coming.  The  form  of  this  demand  has  been  varied,  the  knowledge  of  it  has 
been  varied;  the  law,  eminently  so  called, has  been  interposed  to  the  church, 
God  has  "  winked  at  times  of  ignorance  ;"  but  a  Manasseh's  humbledness  of 
mind,  with  a  peradventure  of  mercy — the  only  demand  which,  in  consis 
tency  with  the  recognition  of  those  primary  transactions  in  the  Garden,  and 
with  the  realities  of  the  case,  could  be  made — is  in  truth  the  only  demand 
whit.i  has  been  made  upon  the  sons  and  daughters  of  fallen  Adam,  from  the 
period  of  the  ejection  out  of  Paradise  until  now  :  a  demand  which  has  served 
to  mark  the  only  difference  that  can  ever  be  found  to  subsist  between  the 
several  apostate  members  of  an  apostate  head;  viz,  continued  apostasy  in 
some,  and  restoration  in  others. 


his  word.  He  also  wills  many  things  which  he  s.xxvnr. 
has  not  shewn  us  that  he  wills,  in  his  word.  For 
instance,  he  wills  not  the  death  of  a  sinner — 
according-  to  his  word,  forsooth — but  he  wills  it 
according  to  that  inscrutable  will  of  his.  Now 
our  business  is  to  look  at  his  word,  and  to  leave 
that  inscrutable  will  of  his  to  itself:  for  we  must 
be  directed  in  our  path  by  that  word,  and  not  by 
that  inscrutable  will.  Nay,  who  could  direct 
himself  by  that  inscrutable  and  inaccessible  will? 
It  is  enough  for  us  barely  to  know,  that  there  is  a 
certain  inscrutable  will  in  God. — What  that  will 
wills,  why  it  so  wills,  and  how  far  it  so  wills,  are 
matters  which  it  is  altogether  unlawful  for  us  to  in 
quire  into,  to  wish  for  knowledge  about,  to  trouble 
ourselves  with,  or  to  approach  even  with  our  touch. 
In  these  matters,  we  have  only  to  adore  and  to  fear. 
So  then,  it  is  rightly  said,  ( If  God  wills 
not  death,  we  must  impute  it  to  our  own  will 
that  we  perish/  Rightly,  I  say,  if  you  speak 
of  the  proclaimed  God.  For  he  would  have  all 
men  to  be  saved,  coming,  as  he  does,  with  his 
word  of  salvation  to  all  men ;  and  the  fault  is  in 
our  own  will,  which  does  not  admit  him ;  as  he 
says,  in  Matt,  xxiii.  "  How  often  would  I  have 
gathered  thy  children,  and  thou  wouldest  not  ?" — 
But  why  this  majesty  of  His  does  not  remove  this 
fault  of  our  will,  or  change  it  in  all  men  (seeing 
that  it  is  not  in  the  power  of  man  to  do  so);  or 
why  he  imputes  this  fault  of  his  will  to  man,  when 
man  cannot  be  without  it;  these  are  questions 
wrhich  it  is  not  lawful  for  us  to  ask ;  and  which, 
if  you  should  ask  them,  you  would  never  get 
answered.  The  best  answer  is  that  which  Paul 
gives  in  Romans  ix.  "  Who  art  thou  that  repliest 
against  God  ?"  Let  these  remarks  suffice  for  this 
passage  of  Ezekiel,  and  let  us  go  on  to  the  rest.x 

x  Luther  has  in  substance  given  the  right  answer  to  this 
cavil  from  Ezekiel,  but  has  given  it,  as  we  have  seen,  in  an 
exceptionable  form  5  exceptionable,  as  it  respects  the  distiuc- 


PART  in.  After  this,  Diatribe  objects  that  the  exhorta- 
-  -  —  tions  with  which  the  Scripture  so  much  abounds, 
sc.xxix.  together  with  all  those  manifold  promises,  threaten- 

Exhorta-  ^Qn  ^y}^^  he  institutes,  '  hidden  God  and  revealed  God  ;' 
ions,  pio-  anj  exceptionable,  in  that  he  does  not  show  the  sameness  of 
this  God,  which  is  thus  distinguishingly  regarded.  It  is  to 
be  remembered,  that  the  words  bear  only  by  inference  and 
consequence  upon  the  question  of  Freewill  (which  is  the  ques 
tion  in  debate),  whatever  be  the  correct  interpretation  of  them  j 
neither  does  Erasmus  represent  them  fairly.  Erasmus  speaks 
of  walling  and  working  :  but  where  does  Ezekiel  say  that  God 
"  wails  ?"  He  says  only,  '  I  would  not.'  Erasmus  argues, 
'  God  deplores  ;  therefore,  it  is  not  his  doing  that  they  die  ; 
therefore,  it  is  their  own  doing  •  therefore,  there  is  Freewill.' 
It  is  inference  two  deep  ;  each  of  which  requires  proof.  What 
if  their  death  be  self-wrought  ?  Why  may  they  not  have  pre 
viously  forfeited  their  Freewill,  and  therefore  die  under  bond- 
will  ?  We  might  hold  ourselves  excused,  therefore,  from 
entering  at  all  into  this  cavil  ;  it  is  truly  rdhil  ad  nos. 

But  there  are  reasons  why  we  should  rather  meet  it  in  the 
face  j  and  the  answer  has,  by  implication,  been  given  to  it 
already.  —  Some  would  say,  why  not  at  once  knock  if  down 
with  "  Secret  things  belong  unto  the  Lord  ?"  (Deut.  xxix.  29.) 
a  convenient  text  for  a  perplexed  disputant  !  My  answer  is,  that 
text  does  not  apply  here.  The  Prophet  is  not  speaking  of  the 
principles  of  divine  conduct,  but  of  those  providential  events 
and  arrangements  by  which  God  realizes  and  fulfils  them.  It 
was  in  the  counsels  of  God  to  bring  the  nation  of  Israel  to 
obedience  at  the  last,  through  a  long  course  of  tergiversation 
and  punishment  :  but  they  had  at  that  time  the  word  given  to 
them  ("  the  word  is  nigh  thee,  even  in  thy  mouth,  and  in  thy 
heart  ;  that  is,  the  word  of  faith,  which  we  preach."  Com 
pare  Rom.  x.  5  —  10.  with  Deut.  xxx.  11  —  14.),  which  they 
would  at  length  obey.  Now,  they  had  nothing  to  do  with 
these  intermediate  events  which  God  would  bring  about  ;  it 
was  theirs  to  use  that  commandment  (or  rather  that  Gospel 
which  the  commandment  fore-preached)  —  looking  through  the 
type  to  the  reality  —  which  he  commanded  them  that  day.  — 
Besides,  if  we  were  at  liberty  to  use  this  text  here,  we  must 
learn  from  it,  that  we  have  nothing  to  do  with  election  and 
reprobation  at  all  :  as  some  are  fond  enough  of  admonishing' 
us.  For  it  is  not  a  question,  who  is  individually  of  the  one 
class,  and  Avho  of  the  other,  that  is  here  to  be  answered  ;  but 
whether  there  really  be  such  distinctions,  and  why  there  are 
such.  (See  above,  note  r.)  —  Then  meeting  the  question 
fairly,  though  not  fairly  attached  to  the  question  of  Freewill, 
how  does  this  assertion  in  Ezekiel  comport  with  the  God-willed 
death  of  a  sinner  ? 
Not  to  insist  upon  the  peculiarities  of  the  case  to  which  this 


ings,   expostulations,    upbraidings,   beseechings,     SECT. 
blessings  and  cursings,   and  all  those  numerous     xxix. 

solemn  declaration  of  God  is  annexed  (the  house  of  Israel  was  mises,  &c. 
brought  into   peculiar  relations  to  God,   and   the  case   of  an  °^  Scrip- 
Israelite   was   therefore    considerably  different    from    that   of  |ure  use" 
uncovemmted  transgressors)  j  not  to  notice  the  ambiguity  of 
Erasmus's  expression  '  his  people  '  (God  works  no  death  in 
his  people  properly  so  called,  though  he  works  death  in  many 
Avho    have  a  name   to  be  his  people,  and  are  not)  •  without 

insisting  that  the  original  words  V^P^  VbnH  as  well  as  the 

I       :  i  v     I  v  T  if 

Oe\w,  not  (3ov\o[iat,  of  the  Septuagint,  express  inclination 
rather  than  determination  —  and  so  the  sentiment  conveyed  may 
be  no  more  than  what  our  translators  have  assigned  to  them, 
'  have  I  any  pleasure  at  all,'  '  for  I  have  no  pleasure  ;'  implying 
only  such  a  reluctance  as  is  not  inconsistent  with  a  contrary 
decision  —  though  Luther,  as  well  as  Erasmus,  makes  it  '  nolo  ;' 
waving  all  such  objections,  which  do  not  shield  the  vitals  of  the 
truth,  though  they  may  serve  to  parry  off  a  blow  from  its  ex 
tremities  (for  clearly  here  is  God  at  least  declaring  his  dislike 
of  that  death  which  he  nevertheless  inflicts,  and  which  we 
affirm  that  he  wills)  ;  the  true  account  of  the  matter,  and  that 
which  comprehends  all  possible  cases,  has  been  furnished  in 
the  two  preceding  notes  ;  asserted  in  note  l,  and  illustrated  by 
examples  in  note  u. 

The  relative  God,  in  his  character  of  Israel's  legislator  and 
sovereign,  declares  in  this  chapter  that  he  will  deal  henceforth 
both  nationally  and  spiritually  with  that  people,  each  man 
according  to  his  own  ways  ;  and,  in  effect,  preaches  the  Gospel 
to  each  individual  of  them,  saying,  '  Repent,  and  live.'  At  the 
twenty-third  verse,*  he  signifies  that  he  has  no  pleasure  in  the 
death  of  him  that  dieth  :  in  the  three  last  verses,  he  exhorts 
and  remonstrates,  and  repeats  his  gracious  assurances.  —  But  it 
does  not  belong  to  these  and  such  like  relations,  to  give  grace 
and  power  ;  and,  without  such  grace  and  power,  exhortations 
promises  and  threatenings  are  all,  and  alike,  vain.  But  is 
God  therefore  to  withhold  them  ?  Man,  without  this  super- 
added  grace,  ought  to  obey  them  ;  ought,  though  he  cannot  ; 
cannot,  through  a  self-wrought  impotency.  And  are  there  no 
reasons,  no  satisfying  reasons,  why  God  should  give  them  ?  Are 
not  these  amongst  his  choicest  instruments,  whereby  he  effects 
the  manifestation  of  himself  ;  manifestation  of  himself,  through 
the  manifestation  of  what  is  in  man  ;  "  that  thou  mightest  be 
justified  when  thou  speakest,  and  clear  when  thou  judgest."  —  L 
His  elect  obey  ;  his  non-elect  harden  themselves  yet  the  more, 
under  his  outward  calls.  —  Thus,  whether  the  case  set  forth  in 
Ezekiel  be  considered  as  the  peculiar  case  of  the  national  Israel,  or 

*  Erasmus  quotes  the  text  unfairly,  by  joining  the  oath  of  v.  3  with  T.  23  ; 
but  it  is  no  part  of  it. 




PART  in.  swarms   of  precepts,   are   without  meaning  ne- 

•  cessarily/  if  no  one  has  it  in  his  power  to  keep 

what  is  commanded. 

Diatribe  is  always  forgetting  the  question  at 
issue,  and  proving  something  different  from  what 
she  undertook  to  prove :  nor  does  she  perceive, 
how  much  more  strongly  every  thing  she  says 
makes  against  herself  than  against  us.  For  she 
proves  from  all  these  passages  a  liberty  and  power 
of  keeping  all  the  commandments,  by  force  of 
the  inference  which  she  suggests  from  the  words 
quoted;  when  all  the  while  she  meant  only  to 
prove  (  such  a  Freewill  as  can  will  nothing  good 
without  grace,  together  with  a  sort  of  endeavour, 
which  is  not  to  be  ascribed  however  to  its  own 
powers.'  I  see  no  proof  of  such  endeavour  in  any 
of  the  passages  quoted ;  I  see  only  a  demand  of 
such  actions  as  ought  to  be  performed :  what  I 
have  indeed  said  too  often  already,  if  it  were  not 
that  such  frequent  repetition  is  necessary,  because 
Diatribe  so  often  blunders  upon  the  same  string/ 
putting  off  her  reader  with  an  useless  profusion  of 

sc.  XXX.  Nearly  the  last  passage  which  she  adduces  from 
the  Old  Testament,  is  that  of  Moses  in  Deut.  xxx. 
"  This  commandment,  which  I  command  thee  this 


the  general  case  of  the  visible  church  having  the  Gospel  preached 
to  it  (that  Gospel  which  is  in  one  view  a  statute,  enactment, 
or  commandment ;  whilst,  in  another  view,  it  is  the  Jubilee 
trumpet,  by  which  the  Holy  Ghost  proclaims  liberty  to  the 
Lord's  captives) ;  we  see  in  it,  at  last,  but  a  farther  exem 
plification  of  what  has  been  shewn  already;  the  relative  God 
revealing  the  absolute,  and  his  legislative  fulfilling  his  personal 
will. — Luther  meant  nothing  contrary  to  this  statement,  though 
his  language  might  seem  to  imply  it. 

y  Frigere  necessarib.']  Frig.  A  metaphor  taken  from  vegetable 
or  animal  substances,  which  are  nipped  with  cold.  These  ex 
hortations,  &c.  have  no  warmth,  no  life,  no  power,  no  mean 
ing  in  them, 'without  Freewill. 

'  Ut  citharoedus 
Ridetur,  chorda  qui  semper  oberrat  eadem.' 

Hor.  Art.  Poet.  355. 


day,  is  not  above  thee,  nor  far  off  from  thee,  nor  sc.  xxx. 

placed  in  heaven,  that  you  mightest  say,  who  of  • 

us  is  able  to  ascend  up  into  heaven,  to  bring  it 
down  to  us,  that  we  may  hear  and  fulfil  it  ?  But  the 
word  is  very  near  to  thee,  in  thy  mouth  and  in 
thy  heart,  that  thoumayest  do  it."  Diatribe  main 
tains  it  to  be  declared  in  this  place,  that  we  not 
only  have  power  to  do  what  is  enjoined,  but  that 
it  is  even  downhill  work  to  do  so ;  that  is,  easy 
or  at  least  not  difficult. 

Thanks  to  you  for  your  immense  learning  !  If 
then  Moses  so  clearly  pronounces  that  there  is 
not  only  a  faculty  in  us,  but  even  a  facility  of 
keeping  all  the  commandments  ;  why  submit  to  all 
this  toil?  Why  have  we  not  at  once  produced 
this  passage,  and  asserted  Freewill  in  a  field  that 
is  without  opponent.3  What  need  have  w^e  any 
longer  of  Christ?  what  need  of  the  Spirit?  We 
have  at  length  found  a  place  which  stops  every 
mouth,  and  distinctly  pronounces  not  only  that 
the  will  is  free,  but  that  the  observance  of  all  the 
commandments  is  easy !  How  foolish  was  Christ 
to  purchase  that  unnecessary  Spirit  for  us  at  the 
, price  of  his  own  out-poured'  blood,  that  it  might 
ibe  made  easy  to  us  to  keep  the  commandments ; 
a  facility,  which  it  now  seems  that  we  possess  by 
nature  !  Nay,  let  Diatribe  herself  recant  her  own 
words,  in  which  she  said  that  Freewill  can  will 
nothing  good  without  grace  :  and  let  her  now  say, 
that  Freewill  is  of  so  great  virtue  as  not  only  to 
will  good,  but  even  with  great  ease  to  keep  the 
chiefest  and  all  the  commandments.  O  see  what  is 
the  result  of  having  a  mind  which  feels  no  interest 
in  the  cause  pleaded  !  see  how  impossible  it  is,  that 
this  mind  should  not  betray  itself!  Is  there  any 
onger  need  to  confute  Diatribe  ?  Who  can  con- 
ute  her  more  thoroughly  than  she  confutes  her  own 
;elf  ?  This,  forsooth,  is  the  animal  which  devours 

a  Libero  campo.~\    I  understand  it  <  liber  ab  hoste.  seu  anta- 
jonista  :    but  I  do  not  find  any  parallel. 



PART  in.  its  own  stomach .b     How  true  is  the  proverb,  f  a 
liar  ought  to  have  a  good  memory  ! ' 

I  have  spoken  on  this  passage  in  my  commentary 
upon  Deuteronomy.0  I  shall  therefore  treat  it 
concisely  here,  shutting  out  Paul  from  our  dis 
cussion,  who  handles  this  passage  with  great 
power,  in  Rom.  x.  You  perceive  that  nothing 
at  all  is  affirmed  here,  nor  one  single  syllable 
uttered,  about  facility  or  difficulty,  about  the 
power  or  the  impotency,  of  Freewill  or  of  man, 
to  keep  or  not  to  keep  the  commandment :  except 
that  those  who  entangle  the  Scriptures  in  the  net 
of  their  own  consequences  and  fancies,  do  thereby 
render  them  obscure  and  ambiguous  to  themselves, 

b  Se  ipsam  comedit.']  What  this  animal  is,  and  whether  real 
or  fabulous  ;  I  must  leave  in  some  doubt.  The  lobster  comes 
nearest  to  the  description  :  of  which  it  is  said  ;  'At  the  same 
time  that  they  cast  their  shell,  they  change  also  their  stomach 
and  intestines.  The  animal,  while  it  is  moulting,  is  said  to 
feed  upon  its  former  stomach,  which  wastes  by  degrees,  and 
is  at  length  replaced  with  a  new  one.' — Bingley's  Animal 
Biography,  vol.  iii.  p.  511.  But  the  pelican  seems  the  more 
probable  allusion  here ;  whose  method  of  taking  its  suste 
nance  from  its  pouch,  might  well  account  for  the  figment 
of  its  eating  itself,  or  preying  on  its  own  stomach.  The 
scolopendra  discharges  its  own  bowels,  in  order  to  disgorge 
the  hook ;  and  the  scorpion,  inclosed  with  burning  coals, 
stings  itself  to  death :  but  neither  of  these  seems  applicable 
here.  The  name  bestia  is  said  to  he  ascribed  properly  to  wild 
and  noxious  animals,  but  not  confined  to  these ;  whilst  bellua 
expresses  size  rather  than  fierceness. 

c  See  Luther's  commentary  on  Deuteronomy,  in  loco  :  where 
he  notices  and  chides  this  unjustifiable  use,  which  the  Sophists 
make  of  it.     He  gives  another  turn  to  the  "  secret  things"  of 
the  preceding  chapter  ;  considering  them  as  secrets  revealed  to 
Israel,  that  he  may  obey.  Also,  he  understands  St.  Paul's  appli 
cation  of  this  text  as  an  accommodation  of  the  original  words, 
not  a  quotation  according  to   their  true  sense,  as  spoken  byt 
Moses.  But  his  comment  will  be  found  strongly  to  confirm  the! 
view  which  I  have  given  of  this  text,  in  notex.     Moses's  wordj 
can  only  be  fulfilled,  he  says,  under  the  Gospel  :  yet  Moses 
says,   "  See,  I  have  set  before  thee  this  day  life  and  death,  &c." 
Then  what  more    natural,  than  to  understand  him  as  calling 
upon  them  to  see  the  Gospel  in  their  Law,  and  to  yield  a  gospel 
obedience  to  that  Law  ?    which  every  spiritual  Israelite  no 
doubt  did. 


for  the  purpose  of  making  what  they  please  of  sc.  xxx. 

them.     But  now,  if  you  have  no  eyes,  turn  your  

ears  at  least  to  what  is  here  spoken,  or  strike  your 
hand  over  the  letters/  Moses  says,  'it  is  not 
above  thee,  nor  placed  afar  off,  nor  seated  in 
heaven,  nor  beyond  the  sea/  What  is  the  mean 
ing  of  '  above  thee?'  fafar  off?'  '  seated  in 
heaven?'  f across  the  sea?'  Will  they  even 
make  our  grammar  and  the  commonest  words  ob 
scure  to  us,  till  they  make  it  impossible  for  us  to 
say  any  thing  that  is  certain;  just  to  carry  their 
point,  that  the  Scriptures  are  obscure? 

According  to  my  grammar,  it  is  not  quality 
or  quantity  of  human  strength,  but  distance  of 
place,  which  is  meant  by  these  words.  It  is  not  a 
certain  power  of  the  will,  but  a  place  which  is 
above  us,  that  is  expressed  by  '  above  thee.'  So 
the  words  '  afar  off/  '  across  the  sea/  '  in  heaven,' 
do  not  denote  any  power  in  man,  but  a  place  re 
moved  from  us  upwards,  to  the  right  hand,  to  the 
left  hand,  backwards  or  forwards.  There  may  be 
those  perhaps,  who  will  laugh  at  my  thick-headed 
way  of  speaking,  when  with  out-stretched  hands 
I  present  a  sort  of  chewed  morsel6  to  these  full- 
grown  gentlemen,  as  though  they  had  not  yet 
learned  their  ABC,  and  teach  them  that  syl 
lables  must  be  combined  into  words.  But  what 
can  I  do,  when  I  see  men  hunting  for  darkness  in 
the  midst  of  such  clear  light,  and  studiously  wish 
ing  to  be  blind,  after  reckoning  up  such  a  series 
of  ages  to  us,  so  many  geniuses,  so  many  saints, 
so  many  martyrs,  so  many  doctors ;  and  after 
vaunting  this  passage  of  Moses  with  such  vast 
authority,  although  they  deign  not  to  inspect  the 

d  Manibus  palpa.~\  '  If  you  cannot  see,  or  hear,  submit  to 
have  your  finger  put  upon  each  letter,  that  you  may  trace  it 
out ;'  as  a  child  is  taught  to  read. 

e  Prcemansum  porrigentem .]  Proem.  A  word  of  doubtful  au 
thority,  but  well  fitted  to  express  the  first  process  in  the  art  of 
teaching,  by  which  the  scholar  eats  as  it  were  out  of  the 
master's  mouth. 


PART  in.  syllables  of  which  it  consists,  or  to  put  so  much  of 
constraint  upon  their  own  thoughts  as  to  consider 
for  once  the  passage  of  which  they  make  their  boast. 
Go  tell  us  now,  Diatribe,  how  it  comes  to  pass, 
that  one  obscure  individual  sees  what  so  many 
public  characters  and  the  nobles  of  so  many 
ages  have  not  seen.  Assuredly,  this  passage 
proves  them  to  have  been  not  seldom  blind,  were 
it  but  a  little  child  that  should  sit  in  judgment1 
upon  them. 

Then  what  doth  Moses  mean  by  these  most 
obvious  and  most  clear  words,  but  that  he  has  dis 
charged  his  office  as  a  faithful  lawgiver  to  perfec 
tion?  Having  brought  it  to  pass  that  there 
should  be  no  cause,  why  they  did  not  know,  and 
have  in  array  before  them,  all  the  commands  of 
God ;  and  that  no  place  should  be  left  to  them 
for  urging  by  way  of  excuse,  that  they  did  not 
know  or  had  not  commandments,  or  must  seek 
them  from  some  other  quarter.  The  effect  of 
wrhich  would  be,  that,  if  they  should  not  keep 
them,  the  fault  would  be  neither  in  the  law,  nor 
in  the  lawgiver,  but  in  themselves ;  since  they 
have  the  law,  and  the  lawgiver  has  taught  them, 
so  that  there  is  no  plea  of  ignorance  remaining 
for  them,  but  only  a  charge  of  negligence  and  of 
disobedience.  '  It  is  not  necessary/  says  he,  ( to 
fetch  laws  from  heaven'  or  from  the  parts  beyond 
the  seas,  or  from  afar  off;  nor  canst  thou  pretend 
either  that  thou  hast  not  heard  them,  or  that 
thou  dost  not  possess  them  :  thou  hast  them  near  to 
thee,  they  are  what  thou  hast  heard  by  the  com 
mand  of  God  from  my  lips ;  thou  hast  understood 
them  with  thine  heart,  and  hast  received  them  to 
be  read  and  expounded  by  the  mouth  of  the 
Levites/  which  are  in  the  midst  of  thee,  con- 

f  Tractandas  accepisti.']  In  Dent.  xxxi.  9 — 13.  the  ordinance 
is,  "  And  Moses  wrote  this  law  and  delivered  it  to  the  priests, 
the  sons  of  Levi,  which  bare  the  ark,  the  covenant  of  the  Lord, 
and  unto  all  the  elders  of  Israel.  And  Moses  commanded 
them,  saying,  At  the  end  of  every  seven  years,  in  the  solemnity 


linually:  this  very  word  and  book  of  mine  is  sc.xxxi. 
witness.  It  remains  only  that  thou  mayest  do 
them/ — What  is  here  ascribed,  pray,  to  Freewill? 
Save  that  she  is  required  to  fulfil  the  laws  which 
she  has,  and  the  excuse  of  ignorance  and  want  of 
laws,  is  taken  away.8 

These  are  nearly  all  the  texts  which  Diatribe  Someofthc 
adduces  from  the  Old  Testament  in  support  of  nillinvX*" 
Freewill ;  by  releasing  which,1'  we  leave  none  re-  nesses  for 
maining,  which  are  not  released  as  well  as  they  FreewllL 
— whether  she  bring  more,  or  be  intending   to 
bring  more — since  she  can  bring  nothing  but  a 
parcel  of  imperative,  or  conjunctive,  or  optative 
verbs,  by  which  is  signified  not  what  we  can  do, 
or  are  doing  (as  I  have  so  often  replied  to  Dia- 

of  the  year  of  release,  in  the  feast  of  tabernacles,  when  all 
Israel  is  come  to  appear  before  the  Lord  thy  God,  in  the  place 
which  he  shall  choose,  thou  shalt  read  this  law  before  all 
Israel,  in  their  hearing.  Gather  the  people  together,"  &c.  &c. 
See  also  vv.  24 — 26.  Also  Josh.  viii.  31 — 35.  Also  Nehem. 
viii.  1 — 8.  Also  2  Chron.  xvii.  7 — 9.  xxx.  22. — I  render  the 
expression  '  ore  assiduo'  continually :  but,  if  I  could  have 
found  authority  for  the  use  of  the  word  '  assiduus,'  I  should 
rather  have  given  it  a  reference  to  what  is  said  in  Nehemiah, 
"  And  the  Levites  caused  the  people  to  understand  the  law, 
&c.  So  they  read  in  the  book  in  the  law  of  God  distinctly,  and 
gave  the  sense,  and  caused  them  to  understand  the  reading." 
— Luther  is  correct  then  in  suggesting,  that  the  Levites  (in 
cluding  the  priests  under  this  name)  were  to  handle  or  dis 
course  on  the  law  to  the  people,  not  simply  to  read  it :  and, 
although  he  anticipates  the  injunction  as  given  on  this  oc 
casion,  it  had  in  substance  been  given  before  (see  Deut.  x. 
8,  9.)>  at  the  second  delivering  of  the  Tables. 

6  I  do  not  quite  fall  in  with  Luther's  interpretation  of  this 
text,  as  I  have  hinted  in  note  x  of  Sect,  xxviii.  and  note  c  of 
Sect.  xxx. — (Why  are  we  to  rshut  out  Paul  in  our  interpretation 
of  it  ?  Is  not  the  Holy  Ghost  the  best  commentator  upon  the 
Holy  Ghost's  words  ?) — But  I  do  not  the  less  resist  its  ap 
plication  in  support  of  Freewill.  '  The  thing  required  is  nigh 
thee  ;  what  ought  to  be  in  thy  mouth  and  in  thy  heart.'  Is 
it  therefore  immediately  and  necessarily  there  ?  and  that,  of  our 
own  giving  and  getting  ?' 

h  Quibus  solutis.']  Sol.  '  Quodligatumest,  avinculis  libero ;' 
'  the  bands  of  these  captive  texts  having  been  loosed  :'  they 
had  been  tied  and  bound  in  the  service  of  Freewill. 




New  Test. 
for  Free 
will,  begin 
ning  with 
Mat.  xxiii, 


tribe  so  often  repeating  the  same  thing) ;  but  what 
we  ought  to  do,  and  what  is  required  of  us,  to 
the  end  that  our  own  impotency  may  become 
notorious  to  us,  and  the  knowledge  of  sin  be  vouch 
safed.  These  texts  indeed,  if  they  prove  any 
thing,  through  the  addition  of  consequences  and 
similes  which  are  the  invention  of  human  reason, 
prove  that  Freewill  possesses  not  only  endeavour, 
or  some  small  particle  of  desire;  but  an  entire 
power  and  the  freest  ability  to  do  -all  things,1 
without  the  grace  of  God,  and  without  the  aid  of 
his  Holy  Spirit. 

So  that  nothing  is  further  from  the  thing  proved 
by  this  wrhole  discourse,  trodden  into  us,  as  it 
has  been,  by  continual  repetitions,  than  the  propo 
sition  which  she  had  undertaken  to  prove  ;  namely, 
f  that  approvable  opinion,  by  which  Freewill  is 
determined  to  be  so  impotent  that  it  can  will 
nothing  good  without  grace,  and  is  compelled  to 
serve  sin,  and  possesses  endeavour  which  is  not  to 
be  ascribed  to  its  own  energies  : '  a  monster  for 
sooth,  which  can  at  the  same  time  do  nothing  by 
its  own  energies,  yet  possesses  a  power  of  endea 
vouring,  in  its  own  energies ;  and  so  consists  by 
a  most  manifest  contradiction.1" 

We  come  now  to  the  New  Testament,  where  a 
large  force  of  imperative  verbs  is  again  mustered 
in  the  wretched  service  of  Freewill,  and  the 
auxiliaries  of  carnal  reason,  such  as  consequences 
and  similes,  are  fetched  in :  like  a  picture,  or  a 
dream,  in  which  you  should  see  the  king  of  the 
flies,  with  his  lances  of  straw  and  shields  of  hay, 
set  in  battle  array  against  a  real  and  wrell-appointed 
army1  of  human  warriors. — Such  is  the  kind  of 

'  Totam  vim,  opposed  to  a  fraction  ;  liberrimam  potestatem, 
'  the  absolute  and  unrestrained  use  of  this  integral  power.' 

k  Qu(E  constat  contradictione  manif.~]  Its  constituting  elements 
are  power  and  no  power ;  which  cannot  subsist  together: 
•what  becomes  of  the  compound  then  ? 

1   Veram  etjustam  aciem. 


warfare   which   the   human   dreams    of  Diatribe     SECT. 
carry  on  against  troops  of  divine  testimonies. 

First  marches  forth,  like  the  Achilles  of  the 
flies,  that  text  in  Matt,  xxiii.  "  O  Jerusalem, 
Jerusalem,  how  often  would  I  have  gathered  thy 
children  together,  and  thou  wouldest  not?"  'If 
all  things  are  done  by  necessity,  says  she,  might 
not  Jerusalem  have  justly  answered  the  Lord, 
Why  consume  thyself  with  vain  tears?  If  thou 
wast  unwilling  that  we  should  listen  to  the 
Prophets,  why  didst  thou  send  them?  why  im 
pute  to  us  what  has  been  done  by  thine  own  will, 
our  necessity  ?'  So  much  for  Diatribe. — My  reply 
is,  granting  for  the  moment,  that  this  inference 
and  proof  of  Diatribe's  is  good  and  true ;  what  is 
proved,  pray?  that  approvable  opinion,  which 
says  that  Freewill  cannot  will  good?  Why,  here 
is  proved  a  will  that  is  free,  every  whit  whole, 
and  able  to  do  every  thing  which  the  Prophets 
have  spoken !  Diatribe  did  not  take  upon  herself 
to  prove  this  sort  of  will  in  man.  Nay,  let 
Diatribe  herself  be  the  respondent  here,  and  let 
her  tell  us  why,  if  Freewill  cannot  will  good,  it 
is  imputed  to  her  that  she  did  not  hear  the  Pro 
phets  ;  whom,  as  being  teachers  of  good,  it  was 
not  possible  for  her  to  hear,  through  her  own 
strength  ?  Why  does  Christ  weep  vain  tears,1"  as 
though  they  could  have  willed,  what  he  assuredly 
knew  that  they  could  not  will  ?  Let  Diatribe 
deliver  Christ  from  a  charge  of  madness,  I  say, 
in  support  of  that  approvabJe  opinion  of  hers,  and 
straightway  our  opinion  will  have  been  liberated 
from  this  Achilles  of  the  flies.  So  that  this  text 

m  Luther  seems  to  have  confounded  this  passage  in  Matt, 
xxiii.  with  Luke  xix.  41 — 44.  "  And  when  he  was  come  near,  he 
beheld  the  city,  and  wept  over  it."  &c.  &c.  It  is  remarkable 
that  the  words  which  are  so  closely  parallel  in  Luke  xiii.  were 
not  spoken  at  the  same  time  with  those  recorded  in  Matt,  xxiii. 
The  latter  were  spoken  in  the  Temple  at  the  close  of  the 
Lord's  public  ministry  :  the  former,  whilst  he  was  yet  in 


PART  in.  of  Matthew  either  proves  a  complete  Freewill,  or 
fights  against  Diatribe  herself,  as  stoutly  as  against 
us,  and  lays  her  prostrate  with  her  own  weapons." 
I  assert,  as  I  have  done  before,  that  the  secret 
will  of  God,  as  regarded  in  the  majesty  of  his 
own  nature,  is  not  matter  of  debate  ;°  and  that 
the  rashness  of  man,  which,  through  a  continual 
perverseness,  is  always  leaving  necessary  topics 
to  attack  and  encounter  it,  should  be  called  away 
and  withdrawn  from  occupying  herself  in  scruti 
nizing  those  secrets  of  His  majesty,  which  it  is 
impossible  to  penetrate/  seeing  He  dwelleth  in 
light  which  no  man  can  approach  unto ;  as  Paul 
testifies.  (1  Tim.  vi.  16.)  Let  her  rather  occupy 
herself  with  the  incarnate  God,  or  (as  Paul  speaks) 
with  Jesus  the  crucified :  in  whom  are  all  the 
treasures  of  wisdom  and  knowledge,  but  hiddenly.'1 
He  will  teach  her  abundantly  what  she  ought  to 
know,  and  what  not.  It  is  the  incarnate  God 
then,  which  speaks  here.  '  I  would,  and  thou 
wouldest  not.'  The  incarnate  God,  I  say,  was 
sent  into  the  world  for  this  purpose,  that  he  might 
be  willing,  that  he  might  speak,  that  he  might 
do,  that  he  might  suffer,  that  he  might  offer r  all 

n  Suo  illam  jaculo.']  Nothing  less  than  a  complete  Freewill 
can  repel  the  objection  here  brought  by  Diatribe  :  therefore, 
either  there  is  a  complete  Freewill — which  she  denies — or  all 
such  objections  have  no  weight  at  all. 

0  Luther  expresses  this  more  briefly,  but  obscurely  :    '  de 
secrets,  ilia  voluntate  majestatis  non  esse  disputandum.' 

P  Scrutandis.  attingereJ]  Scrnt.  comes  nearest  to  our  '  rum 
mage  :'  (  videtur  esse  a  scrutis,  quasi  sit  ita  in  loco  aliquo 
pnetentare,  et  versare  omnia,  ut  etiam  scruta  misceantur." 
Hence  applied  to  a  dog  hunting  by  the  scent.  It  expresses 
the  search  for  a  thing,  rather  than  the  improper  handling  of 
the  thing  found.  So  Luther  applies  it  here  ;  as  is  plain  from 
'  attingere  : '  '  the  attaining  to,  or  reaching  the  thing  which 
was  gone  after.' 

1  See  1  Cor.  i.  23.  ii.  2.     Coloss.  ii.  3.    In  this    latter  text, 
Luther  gives  the  sense  strictly  according  to  the  original,  which 
our  version  does  not  j  eV  ia  tlai.  .  .  . 

r  See  above,  Sect,  xxiii.  note  a. 


things  which  are  necessary  for  salvation,  unto  all     SECT. 
men :    although   he   stumbles    upon   many,    who,    XXXI1- 
being*  either  left  or  hardened  by  that  secret  will 
of  His  majesty,  receive  him  not ;  willing  as  he  is, 
speaking,  working,  offering  as  he  does  :  which  is 
just  what  John  says,  '  The  light  shineth  in  dark 
ness,    and  the  darkness  comprehendeth  it   not:' 
and  again,  cHe  came  unto  his  own,  and  his  own 
received  him  not/ 

Thus,  it  is  the  act  of  this  incarnate  God  to 
weep,  wail,  and  groan  over  the  destruction  of  the 
wicked,  whilst  the  will  of  Majesty  leaves  and  re 
probates  some,  on  purpose  that  they  may  perish : 
nor  ought  we  to  inquire  why  he  does  so,  but  to 
reverence  God,  who  is  both  able  and  willing  to  do 
such  things. — No  one,  I  suppose,  will  here  cavil, 
that  the  will  of  which  it  is  said,  '  how  often  would 
I/  was  exhibited  to  the  Jews  even  before  God's 
incarnation ;  inasmuch  as  they  are  charged  with 
having  slain  the  Prophets  which  lived  before 
Christ,  and,  by  so  doing,  with  having  resisted 
his  will.  Christians  know,  that  every  thing 
which  was  done  by  the  Prophets  was  done  by 
them  in  the  name  of  that  Christ  which  was  to 
come ;  of  whom  it  had  been  promised  that  he 
should  become  the  incarnate  God.  So  that  what 
soever  has  been  offered  to  man  by  the  ministers 
of  the  word  from  the  beginning  of  the  world,  may 
be  rightly  called  the  will  of  Christ.8 

8  Luther  gives  two  answers  to  this  cavil  from  Matt,  xxiii. — 
1.  It  is  equally  inconsistent  with  Diatribe's  statement.  2.  It 
is  the  incarnate  God,  not  the  God  of  Majesty,  who  here 
speaks.  I  must  strongly  object  to  this  latter  solution.  It  im 
plies  a  difference,  nay  a  contrariety,  between  the  mind  of 
God  and  the  mind  of  Christ  ;  and  thus  destroys  the  very  end 
for  which  Christ  came — even  the  manifestation  of  God  as  His 
express  irna«;e — by  not  only  negativing  the  fulfilment  of  that 
design,  but  absolutely  intimating  that  he  has  given  us  false 
views  of  God,  by  shewing  a  mind  which  is  the  reverse  of  His  : 
as  though  He  Avilled  salvation,  where  God  wills  destruction. 
Yet  he  tells  us,  "  I  came  not  to  do  mine  own  will  but  the  will 
of  Him  that  sent  me."  "  My  meat  is  to  do  the  will  of  Him 
that  sent  me,  and  to  finish  his  work."  "  I  do  nothing  of  my- 


PART  in.      But  reason,   who  is  quick-scented  and  saucy, 

will  say  here,  f  An  admirable  refuge  this,  which 


XXXIII.    seif.  but  as  my  Father  hath  taught  me,  I  speak  these  things." 

"  I  have  manifested  thy  name  unto  the  men  that  thou  gavest 

The  reality  me  out  of  the  world."     And  truly,  though  we  shall  know  far 
of  God's       more  of  Cod  hereafter  than  we  can  know  here — so  that  "  Whe- 
secrct  will    ^her  tjicre  be  knowledge,  it  shall  vanish  away" — our  knowledge 
maintained  of  Qo(1  shall  gtm  be  derived  to  us  through  Christ  ("  the  lamb 

which  is  in  the  midst  of  the  throne  shall  feed  them,  and  shall 
lead  them  unto  living  fountains  of  waters"),  and  we  shall  never 
know  any  thing  of  God  contrary  to  that  which  Jesus  has  exhi 
bited  of  Him. 

The  true  answer  to  this  cavil,  however,  has  in  substance 
been  given  already.  (See  Sect,  xxviii.  notes  l  v  x.)  God 
standing  in  peculiar  relations  to  Israel,  as  his  typical  nation 
and  his  visible  church,  had  from  the  beginning  been  calling 
that  people  to  repentance.  Their  history,  their  institutions, 
their  lively  oracles,  their  ordinary  and  extraordinary  ministers, 
had  caused  them  to  be  peculiarly,  and  above  the  rest  of  man 
kind,  without  excuse,  even  before  Christ  came.  These  were 
so  many  '  I  woulch,  and  ye  would  nots  :'  not  Christ  saying 
and  willing  one  thing,  and  the  Father  another ;  but  Christ 
by  the  Father's  commandment  calling  to  them,  and  they  re 
fusing.  But  now  he  had  come  personally  and  visibly  amongst 
them,  and  could  say,  "  If  I  had  not  come  and  spoken  unto  them, 
they  had  not  had  sin,  but  now  they  have  no  cloak  for  their  sin. 
He  that  hateth  me,  hateth  my  Father  also.  If  I  had  not  done 
amongst  them  the  works  which  none  other  man  did,  they  had 
not  had  sin  ;  but  now  have  they  both  seen  and  hated  both  me 
and  my  Father."  (John  xv.  22 — 24.)  And  what  is  all  this, 
but  God  in  certain  assumed  relations  uttering  his  voice  to  those 
connected  with  him  by  these  relations  (in  other  words,  declar 
ing  his  legislative  will),  which  those,  to  whom  it  is  uttered, 
ought  without  doubt  to  obey  ;  and  which  if  they  did  obey,  they 
would  according  to  his  promise  live.  But  '  ought  to  obey'  is 
not  '  therefore  have  power  to  obey  ;'  and  '  have  not  power  to 
obey,'  is  not  '  therefore  the  command  is  given  in  vain.'  Here 
is,  man  manifested  ;  and  God,  by  his  dealings  with  him.  If 
Israel  '  would/  he  would  have  been  gathered  ;  if  Jerusalem 
'  would,'  she  would  have  remained  unto  this  day.  But  it  was 
only  by  a  grace  not  belonging  to  those  relations  by  which  God 
had  at  that  period  connected  himself  with  Israel,  that  Israel 
could  then  have  been  made  willing  :  he  had  all  given  to  him 
which  belonged  to  those  relations ;  to  withhold  trial,  or  to 
administer  super-creation  and  super-covenant  grace  that  he 
might  stand,  was  no  part  of  the  dues  which  God  had  made 
himself  debtor  to  him  to  perform  •  and  therefore  Israel — -justly, 
and  no  more  than  justly,  tried — having  manifested  what  was  in 
him  with  such  aggravations  of  guilt,  incurred  a  sentence  which 
is  declared  to  have  been  the  requital  of  all  the  righteous  blood 


you  have  discovered :  so  then,  as  often  as  you  are     SECT. 
pressed  by  the  force  of  your  adversary's  argu-    XXXIIL 

that  had  been  shed  upon  the  earth  from  Abel  to  Zecharias. 
(vv.  35,  3G.) — The  guilt  of  that  generation   was  indeed  ex 
treme  ;   but  who  shall  say  that  it  was  not  the  concentrated 
guilt  of  the  intermediate  ages  and  generations  of  that  people, 
together  with  their  own,  which  was  so  shortly  to  be  visited 
upon  them  ?     Carnal  reason  will  not  hear  of  the  children  being 
visited  for  their   fathers'    sin  -,     but    both    Scripture   and  ex 
perience     testify     this     reality   to    the    spiritual  mind. — The 
incarnate  God,  then,  has  no  will  contrary  to  the  God  of  Ma 
jesty  ;    or    more  intelligibly,     Christ  s  will  and  the  Father's 
are  one ;    Christ's   tears  (see  above,  note  m)   imply  not  any 
repugnance  to  the  divine  counsel ;  the  legislative  is  here,  as 
in  the  former  instances,  the  executor  of  the  personal  will. — 
With  respect  to  the  tears  which  he  shed  over  that  woe  which 
he  was  shortly  to  inflict,  and  of  which  he  well  knew  the  length 
and  breadth,  the  depth  and  height ;  it  may  be  remarked,  that 
the  Lord  Jesus   had  a  human  soul,  as  part  of  his  complete 
human   person,    distinct  from  his   divine  person  (See  Part  ii. 
Sect.  viii.  note  r);    and  that  such  expressions   might,  without 
impropriety,  be  referred  to  that  part  of  his  complex  frame. 
"  We  have  not  an  high  priest  which  cannot  be  touched  with 
the  feeling  of  our  infirmities,  but  was  in  all   points    tempted 
like  as  we  are,  yet  without  sin."  He  had  all  the  sinless  feelings 
of  a  man,  and  might  therefore  not  incongruously  weep  at  such 
a  woe.     But  where  is  the  contradiction  to  Scripture  and  right 
reason  in  understanding  God  himself  to  be  moved  with  com 
passion  at  the  very  grief  and  pain  which  He  in  just  judgment 
inflicts  ?       "  Therefore     my   bowels   are    troubled   for    him." 
"  Have  I  any  pleasure  at  all  in  the  death  of  him  that  dieth  ?" 
"  For  he  doth  not  afflict  willingly,  nor  grieve  the  children  of 

It  is  pleasing  to  notice,  how  nearly  Luther  approximates  to 
the  truth — viz.  '  That  Christ  was  eternally  fore-ordained  as 
Christ,  and  did  by  a  covenant  subsistence  assume  his  person 
and  personal  relations,  as  the  risen  God-man,  before  the  foun 
dation  of  the  world' — in  the  defence  Avhich  he  makes  against 
the  cavil,  '  Christ  was  not  yet  come.'  He  declares  that  every 
thing  was  done  by  the  Prophets  in  His  name,  and  that  all 
expressions  of  mercy  from  the  beginning  may  be  rightly  called 
the  will  of  Christ :  which  will,  according  to  his  representation 
of  it,  is  perfectly  distinct  from  that  of  the  Father  (his  language 
implies,  contrary  to  it),  so  that  there  must  have  been  a  dis 
tinct  agency  of  Christ  from  the  beginning.  Verily,  this  is  so  ; 
though  not  exactly  as  he  understood  and  would  have  repre 
sented  it :  and  I  have  often  been  surprised  that,  whilst  most  of 
those  who  know  any  thing  of  Christ  are  ready  enough  to  ac 
knowledge,  that  regard  was  had  to  his  sacrifice  from  the  begin- 


PART  in.  ments,  you  have  but  to  run  back  to  this  terrible 
• will  of  sovereignty,  and  you  compel  your  an 
tagonist  to  silence,  when  he  has  become  trouble 
some;  just  as  the  astrologers  evade  all  questions 
about  the  motions  of  the  whole  heavens,  by  their 
invention  of  Epicycles/1 

I  answer,  '  It  is  not  my  invention  but  a  direction 
confirmed  by  the  divine  Scriptures.  Thus  speaks 

ning  (for  how  else  could  any  soul  of  man,  as  Abel,  Enoch, 
Abraham,  David,  &c.  &c.  have  been  pardoned  and  accepted)  ; 
so  few  distinctly  recognise  his  personal  subsistence  and  agency, 
as  Christ,  from  the  same  period  •  although  it  be  in  this  regard 
that  he  is  called  "  the  Word,"  "  the  Word  of  life,"  "  the  life," 
"  that  eternal  life,"  &c.  and  although  a  distinct  personal  agent,  to 
use  the  blessed  materials  of  his  future  coming  and  dying  in  the 
flesh — as  a  Priest-king — was  not  less  necessary  to  the  salvation 
and  glorification  of  every  individual  of  the  saved  who  lived  and 
died  before  those  events  had  been  realized ;  than  was  the  article 
of  his  death. — In  what  Luther  says  about  abstaining  from  what 
he  calls  '  the  secret  will  of  majesty,'  he  speaks  indistinctly, 
injuriously,  and  contradictorily  :  indistinctly,  because  there  is 
an  use  as  well  as  an  abuse  of  such  inquiries,  Avhich  he  ought  to 
have  discriminated  ;  injuriously,  because  his  observations  would 
go  the  length  of  deterring  men  from  even  the  recognition  of  such 
a  will,  and  so  would  mar  the  joy  and  fear  and  gratitude  and  love 
of  the  Lord's  people  ;  contradictorily,  because  he  afterwards  re 
cognises  and  makes  assertions  about  it.  Christ  for sootti  impinges 
upon  some  of  God's  reprobates  ! — Still,  a  hint  or  two  may  be 
borrowed  with  advantage  from  Luther's  statement.  God,  in 
addressing  himself  to  the  world  as  he  does  by  the  '  every  where 
to  be  preached '  Gospel,  does  clearly  set  himself  forth  to  as 
many  as  have  a  heart  in  any  degree  softened  and  turned  to- 
wards  him,  in  the  form  and  character  of  the  Father  of  mercies 
not  willing  that  any  should  perish.  Such  ought  not  to  be  de 
terred  and  affrighted  by  the  knowledge  that  he  has  his  repro 
bates.  The  melting  heart  is  not  the  heart  of  a  reprobate. 
But  is  he  to  shut  his  eyes  to  the  fact  that  God  has  his 
reprobates  ?  Nay,  that  fact  combined  with  the  consciousness 
of  his  own  personal  impotency,  turns  unto  him  for  a  testimony. 
Neither  can  he  regard  God  as  he  ought  now,  or  in  any  future 
stage  of  his  experience,  without  it ;  for  without  it,  the  God 
whom  he  serves  is  not  the  true  God. 

1  Epicycles.']  '  A  little  circle,  Avhose  centre  is  in  the  circum 
ference  of  a  greater  :  or  a  small  orb,  which,  being  fixed  in  the 
deferent  of  a  planet,  carries  it  round  its  own  axis,  whilst  it  is 
itself  carried  round  the  axis  of  the  planet. — An  invention  of 
some  bungling  philosophers  to  account  for  the  anomalies  of 
planetary  motion.' 


Paul  in  Rom.  ix.  "Why  doth  God  complain  SECT. 
then  ?  Who  shall  resist  his  will  ?  O  man,  who  art  XXXIIL 
thou  that  contendest  with  God  ?"  "  Hath  not  the 
potter  power?"  and  the  rest.  And  before  him, 
Isaiah,  in  his  58th  chapter,  had  said,  "  For  they 
seek  me  daily,  and  desire  to  know  my  ways,  as  a 
nation  which  hath  done  righteousness :  they  ask 
of  me  the  ordinances  of  justice,  and  desire  to  draw 
near  to  God."  In  these  words,  I  imagine,  it  is 
abundantly  shewn  to  us,  that  it  is  not  lawful  for 
man  to  scrutinize  the  will  of  sovereignty."  Be 
sides,  this  question  is  of  a  kind  which  most  of  all 
leads  perverse  men  to  attack  that  awful  will ;  so 
that  it  is  especially  seasonable  to  exhort  them  to 
silence  and  reverence,  when  we  prosecute  it.  In 
other  questions,  where  the  matters  treated  of  are 
such  as  admit  of  explanation,  and  such  as  we  are 
commanded  to  explain,  I  do  not  proceed  so. 

Now  if  a  man  will  not  yield  to  my  admonition,  but 
persists  in  scrutinizing  the  counsels T  of  that  will, 

11  This  text  does  not  seem  to  bear  upon  the  point  in  hand  ; 
viz.  that  we  ought  not  to  scrutinize  the  personal  will  of  God  ; 
or,  as  he  terms  it,  '  the  will  of  majesty/  or  sovereignty. 
Luther  understands  f  their  seeking  of  God  daily,  and  desiring 
to  know  his  ways,  and  asking  of  him  the  ordinances  of  justice  j' 
as  if  they  not  only  complained  of  God's  appointments  towards 
them  being  unjust,  but  were  prying  curiously  into  the  secret 
springs  of  them.  But  does  God,  speaking  by  his  Prophet, 
really  mean  any  more  than  that  they  were  hypocrites  and 
formalists,  yet  expected  the  acceptance  of  true  and  devout 
worshippers  ?  Accordingly  they  were  answered  by  shewing 
them  that  their  fasts  were  not  such  as  he  had  chosen,  and  that 
the  worship  which  he  accepts  is  the  reverse  of  theirs.  '  Ask 
of  me  the  ordinances  of  justice,1  are  the  only  words  which 
bear  at  all  upon  the  subject ;  and  these  do  not  necessarily 
imply,  or  with  any  probability  here  imply,  '  a  spirit  of 

v  Rationem  Servian."]  Rat.  More  literally,  the  method  of  that 
will.  '  Ratio  '  expresses  most  nearly  the  '  all  about  it.'  Scrut. 
(see  last  Section,  note  p)  does  not  necessarily  denote  a  bad 
state  of  mind  ;  though  clearly  so  here:  a  mind  which  doubts 
the  fact  that  God  has  such  a  will,  questions  his  right  to  have 
it,  and  cavils  at  its  decisions.  To  inquire  what  the  word  of 
God  has  recorded  concerning  this  will  with  deep  reverence ; 




Matt.  xix. 
17-  and 
other  like 


I  let  him  go  on  and  fight  with  God,  as  the  giants 
did  of  old ;  waiting  to  see  what  sort  of  triumphs 
he  carries  off,  and  very  sure  in  the  mean  time, 
that  he  will  withdraw  nothing  from  our  cause,  and 
confer  nothing  upon  his  own.  For  it  will  remain 
fixed,  that  either  he  must  prove  Freewill  to  be 
capable  of  doing  every  thing,  or  the  Scriptures 
which  he  quotes  must  contradict  his  own  position. 
Whichsoever  of  these  be  the  issue,  he  lies  pros 
trate  as  the  conquered  man,  and  I  am  found 
standing  upon  my  feet,  as  the  conqueror.x 

Your  second  text  is  Matthew  xix.  17.  "  If  thou 
wilt  enter  into  life,  keep  the  commandments." 
'With  what  face  could  it  be  said,  "If  thou 
wilt/'  to  a  man  whose  will  is  not  free/  So  says 

To  whom  I  reply ;  does  this  saying  of  Christ's 

and  meekly,  rejoicingly,  to  submit  to  that  record  j  would  not  be 
making  war  as  the  giants  of  old  did  against  Jupiter. 

x  See  here  a  confirmation  ofmy  remark  in  Sect,  xxviii.  note  *, 
that  it  is  against  the  impugners  and  deniers  of  that  will  which 
is  distinct  from  God's  legislative  will,  not  against  its  sober 
investigators  and  maintainers,  that  Luther  is  protesting !  His 
answer  to  the  cavil  from  Matt,  xxiii.  and  like  passages  is, 
'  Aye,  but  there  is  another  wrill  behind  this,  which  is  contrary 
to  this,  and  which  we  must  be  content  to  leave,  with  asserting 
it.  God  as  revealed,  or,  as  he  afterwards  describes  him, 
Christ,  the  incarnate  God,  wills  only  life  ;  but  there  is  another 
will  of  God,  a  will  not  expressed  by  this  incarnate  God,  which 
wills  death  ;  and  therefore  these  things  which  appear  to  prove 
Freewill  (by  inference)  may  still  be  said,  and  yet  man  be  in 
bondage  :  because,  whilst  he  deplores,  he  doth  also  not  deplore. 
This  latter  will  is  not  to  be  searched  into,  or  acted  upon  ;  it  is 
only  to  be  asserted  and  believed  :  deny  it,  if  you  dare  ;  you 
will  only  be  running  your  head  against  the  wall,  making  war 
against  God. — For  objections  to  this  statement,  and  for  a  more 
consistent  answer  to  the  cavil,  &c.  &c.  see  note  s  of  the  last 
Section. — Luther  says  worse  than  he  means,  but  he  means 
ignorantly.  It  had  not  been  given  him  to  know  the  mystery  of 
God  and  the  Father,  and  of  Christ  :  lie  did  not  understand  how 
that  God  is  not  hiding  himself  behind  Christ,  but  making  himself 
seen  in  Christ  ;  so  that  it  shall  be  truly  said,  "  He  that  hath 
seen  me  hath  seen  the  Father  :  if  ye  had  known  me,  ye  should 
have  known  my  Father  also ;  and  from  henceforth  ye  know 
him,  and  have  seen  him."  (John  xiv.  9.  7.) 


then  establish  that  the  will  is  free  ?    Why,  you     SECT. 
meant  to  prove  that  Freewill   can   will   nothing    XXXIV- 
good,    and   will   necessarily  serve  sin,  if  grace 
be  out  of  the  way.     With  what  face  then  do  you 
now  make  it  all  free  ? 

The  same  shall  be  said  to  the  words,  f  If  thou 
wilt  be  perfect/  '  if  any  man  will  come  after  me/ 
( whosoever  will  save  his  soul/  '  if  ye  love  me/  ( if 
ye  abide  in  me/  (Nay,  let  all  the  conjunctions  '  if,' 
and  all  the  imperative  verbs,  as  I  have  said/  be 
collected  together — by  way  of  assisting  Diatribe  in 
the  number,  at  least,  of  her  quotations.)  '  All  these 
precepts  are  unmeaning/  she  says,  if  nothing  be 
attributed  to  the  human  will.  How  ill  does  that 
conjunction,  'if'  agree  with  mere  necessity!' 

I  answer ;  if  they  be  unmeaning,  it  is  your  own 
fault  that  they  are  so,  or  rather  are  nothing  at  all : 
you  make  this  nonentity  of  them  by  asserting  that 
nothing  is  ascribed  to  the  human  will,  so  long  as 
you  represent  that  Freewill  cannot  will  good,  and 
here  on  the  other  hand  representing,  that  it  can 
will  all  good ;  unless  it  be,  that  the  same  words 
are  both  hot  and  cold  in  the  same  instant,  as 
you  use  them,  at  once  asserting  every  thing  and 
denying  every  thing.*  Truly  I  am  at  a  loss  to  think, 
why  an  author  should  have  been  pleased  to  say  the 
same  thing  so  many  times  over,  forgetting  his 
thesis  perpetually,  unless  perchance,  through 
mistrust  of  his  cause,  he  had  a  mind  to  gain  the 
victory  by  the  size  of  his  book,  or  to  wear  out 
his  adversary  by  making  it  tedious  and  burthen- 
some  to  peruse. — By  what  sort  of  consequence,  I 
would  ask,  does  it  follow  that  will  and  power  must 

y  See  above,  Sect.  xx. 

2  Frigent.]    See  above,  Sect.  xxix.  note  v. 

a  It  is  you  who  take  away  all  warmth  and  life  from  such 
passages  as  these,  by  making  the  will  a  contradiction  ;  it  can 
do  nothing,  it  can  do  all  things  :  these  assertions  destroy  each 
other,  and  leave  a  nought  as  the  result,  unless  they  mean  op 
posite  things,  such  as  '  yes/  and  '  no/  at  the  same  instant. 



PART  HI.  forthwith  be  present  to  the  soul,  as  often  as  it  is 

said,    '  If  thou  wilt/    'if  a  man  will/    'if  them 

shalt  be  willing/  Do  not  we  most  frequently 
denote  impotency  and  impossibility,  rather  than 
the  contrary,  by  such  expressions  ?  As  in  these 
examples  :  'If  thou  wilt  equal  Virgil  in  singing, 
my  Ma3vius,  thou  must  sing  other  songs ; '  '  If  thou 
wilt  surpass  Cicero,  my  Scotus,  thou  must  ex 
change  thy  subtilties  for  the  most  consummate 
eloquence ; ' '  If  thou  wilt  be  compared  with  David, 
thou  must  utter  Psalms  like  his/  By  these  con 
ditionals,  it  is  plain  that  things  impossible  of 
attainment  to  our  own  powers  are  denoted, 
whilst  by  a  divine  power  all  things  are  possible  to 
us.  Thus  it  is  with  the  Scriptures  also :  what 
may  be  done  in  us  by  the  power  of  God,  and 
what  we  cannot  do  of  ourselves,  is  declared  by 
such  like  words. 

Besides,  if  such  things  were  said  about  actions 
absolutely  impossible,  as  those  which  even  God 
also  would  never  at  any  time  do  by  us,  then 
would  they  be  rightly  called  either  cold  or  ridi 
culous,  as  being  said  to  no  purpose.  But  the 
truth  is,  these  expressions  are  used  not  only  to 
show  the  impotency  of  Freewill,  which  causes 
that  none  of  these  things  be  done  by  us ;  but  at 
the  same  time  to  intimate  that  all  such  things  are, 
at  some  time  or  other,  about  to  be  and  to  be 
done — howbeit  by  another's  power,  even  God's : 
if  we  quite  admit  that  there  is  in  such  like 
words  some  intimation  of  things  which  are  to 
be  done,  and  which  are  possible.  As  if  a  man 
should  interpret  them  thus :  '  If  thou  shalt  be  wil 
ling  to  keep  the  commandments/  that  is,  '  If  thou 
shalt  at  some  time  possess  a  will  (thou  wilt  pos 
sess  it  however,  not  of  thyself,  but  of  God — who 
will  give  it  to  whom  it  shall  be  his  will  to  give  it) 
to  keep  the  commandments,  they  also  shall  pre 
serve  thee/  Or,  to  speak  more  freely,  these  verbs, 
particularly  the  conjunctive  verbs,  seem  to  be 


inserted  thus  on  account  of  God's  predestination     SECT. 
also — as  being  that  which  we  do  not  know — and  to 
involve  it :  as  if  they  should  mean  to  say,    '  If  ' 
thou  wilt/  f  If  thou  shalt  be  willing' — that  is,  ( If 
thou  shalt  be  such  in  the  sight  of  God  as  that  he 
shall  count  thee  worthy  of  this  will  to  keep  the 
commandments — thou  shalt  be  saved/     Each  of 
these  two  things   is  couched  under  this  trope  :b 
namely,  that,  on  the  one  hand  we  can  do  nothing 
of  ourselves  ;  and  on  the  other,  whatever  we  do, 
God  worketh  it  in  us.     I  should  speak  thus  to 
those  who  would  not  be  content  to  have  it  said, 
that  our  impotency  only  is  expressed  by  these 
words,  but  would  maintain,  that  a  certain  power 
and  ability  of  doing  those  things  which  are  en 
joined,  is  proved  by  them.   Thus  it  would  at  once 
be  true,  that  we  could  do  none  of  the  things  com 
manded,  and  could   at  the  same  time  do  all  of 
them ;   if  we  should  apply  the  former  assertion  to 
our  own  powers,  the  latter  to  the  grace  of  God.c 

Thirdly,  Diatribe  is  affected  by  this  consider-  Erasmus's 
ation :  '  Where  there  is  such  frequent  mention  objection 
of  good  and  bad  works,  says  she ;  where  there  ceptsPare 
is  mention  of  reward ;  I  do  not  see  how  there  can  given,  and 

b  TropoJ]  Any  figurative  mode  of  speech,  as  opposed  to  one 
that  is  plain,  simple,  and  straight  forward  j  whatever  be  the 
particular  nature  of  the  obliquity :  whether  grammatical,  as 
here  ;  or  rhetorical. 

c  Luther  gives  three  answers  to  these  texts.  1.  Erasmus 
inconsistent  with  himself.  2.  They  teach  human  impotency. 
3.  They  insinuate  the  possibility  of  divine  help,  and  glance  at 
his  predestinative  favour. — In  some  instances,  doubtless,  as  in 
Matthew  xix.  and  its  parallels  (Mark  x.  Luke  xviii.),  a  peculiar 
design  may  also  be  traced — the  teaching  of  the  natural  man's 
impotency,  and  the  hint  at  what  God,  according  to  his  eternal 
purpose,  will  do  in  his  people — but  all  these,  multifarious  as  they 
are,  may  be  resolved  into,  '  the  Lawgiver  speaks  :'  whose  voice 
implies  not  either  power  in  man,  or  promise  in  God.  The  end 
is  not  always  conviction  of  sin  in  mercy ;  sometimes  it  is 
f"  whom  he  will  he  hardeneth  ;"  but  always,  it  is  man  made 
to  shew  what  he  is,  unto  the  more  perfect  manifestation  of  God 
by  him.  See  Sect,  xxviii.  notes  t  v  x. 



merit  is 
to  Free 
will,  consi 
dered. — 
ent  with 


New  Tes 
are  ad 
dressed  to 
the  con- 


be  place  for  mere  necessity.  '  Neither  nature, 
nor  necessity,  says  she,  hath  merit/ d 

Nor  do  I  forsooth  understand  how  there  can 
be  this  place  ;  save,  that  the  'approvable  opinion7 
asserts  mere  necessity  in  saying  that  Freewill  can 
will  nothing  good,  but  here  attributes  even  merit 
to  it.  Freewill  has  made  such  advances  during 
the  growth  of  this  book  and  disputation  of  Dia 
tribe's,  that  now  she  not  only  has  desire  and 
endeavour  for  her  own  (howbeit,  by  a  strength 
not  her  own);  nay,  she  not  only  wills  and  does 
good,  but  even  merits  eternal  life;  because  Christ 
says  in  the  fifth  of  St.  Matthew  (ver.  12),  "  Re 
joice  and  be  exceeding  glad,  for  your  reward  is 
abundant  in  the  heavens."  Your  reward ;  that  is, 
FreewilPs  reward :  for  so  Diatribe  understands 
this  text,  making  Christ  and  the  Spirit  to  be 
nothing;  for  what  need  is  there  of  these,  if  we 
have  good  works  and  merits  through  Freewill  ? — I 
mention  this,  that  we  may  see  how  common  it  is 
for  men  of  excellent  abilities  to  be  wont  to  show 
a  blindness  in  matters  which  are  manifest  to  even 
a  dull  and  uncultivated  mind;  and  how  weak 
an  argument  drawn  from  human  authority  is,  in 
divine  things  :  where  divine  authority  alone  has 

Two  distinct  topics  must  here  be  spoken  to : 
first,  the  precepts  of  the  New  Testament;  and 
secondly,  merit.  I  shall  dispatch  each  of  these  in 
few  words,  having  spoken  of  them  rather  pro 
lixly  on  other  occasions.  The  New  Testament 
properly  consists  of  promises  and  exhortations, 
just  as  the  Old  properly  consists  of  laws  and 

d  Natura,  necessitas.~\  By  '  nature/  in  this  connection,  I  sup 
pose  he  means  '  an  inherent,  settled,  constitution  of  things ;' 
which  produces  actions  involuntarily  :  by  '  necessity,'  '  a  com 
pulsory  influence'  exercised  upon  such  a  constitution,  from 

e  The  inconsistency  is  Erasmus's  :  his  Freewill  is  necessity ; 
but,  according  to  him,  is  the  subject  of  reward. 


threatenings.  For,  in  the  New  Testament,  the  SECT. 
Gospel  is  preached ;  which  is  nothing  else  but  a  XXXVI- 
discourse  offering  the  Spirit,  together  with  grace,  verted  not 
unto  that  remission  of  sins  which  hath  been  to  those  in 
obtained  for  us  by  the  crucifixion  of  Christ :  and  Freewi11- 
all  this  gratuitously,  because  the  mercy  only  of  God 
the  Father  befriends  us,  unworthy  as  we  are,  and 
deserving  damnation,  as  we  do,  rather  than  any 
thing  else.  Then  follow  exhortations,  to  stir  up 
those  who  are  already  justified,  and  have  obtained 
mercy,  unto  a  strenuousness  in  bringing  forth  the 
fruits  of  that  freely  bestowed  righteousness  and 
of  the  Spirit,  and  unto  the  acting  of  love  in  the 
performance  of  good  works,  and  unto  the  bearing 
of  the  cross  and  of  all  the  other  tribulations  of 
the  world  with  a  good  courage.  This  is  the  sum 
of  all  the  New  Testament. — How  entirely  ignorant 
Diatribe  is  of  this  matter,  she  abundantly  shows 
in  not  knowing  how  to  make  the  least  difference 
between  the  Old  Testament  and  the  New ;  for 
she  sees  almost  nothing  in  either,  save  laws 
and  precepts,  by  which  men  are  to  be  formed  to 
good  manners.  What  new  birth  is ;  what  re 
newal,  regeneration,  and  the  whole  work  of  the 
Spirit ;  she  sees  not  at  all :  to  my  utter  wonder 
and  astonishment,  that  a  man  who  has  laboured 
so  long  and  so  studiously  in  the  Scriptures  should 
be  so  perfectly  ignorant  of  them. 

So  then,  this  saying,  "  Rejoice  and  be  exceed 
ing  glad,  for  much  is  your  reward  in  the  hea 
vens,"  squares  just  about  as  well  with  Freewill  as 
light  agrees  with  darkness.  For  Christ  therein 
exhorts  not  Freewill,  but  his  Apostles  (who  not 
only  were  in  a  state  above  Freewill,  as  being 
already  partakers  of  grace  and  just  persons;  but 
were  even  established  in  the  ministry  of  the  word; 
that  is,  in  the  highest  station  of  grace),  to  bear  the 
tribulations  of  the  world.  But  we  are  engaged 
in  discussing  Freewill,  specially  as  she  subsists 
without  grace ;  who  is  instructed  by  laws  and 
threatenings  (that  is,  by  the  Old  Testament)  into 


PART  in.  the  knowledge  of  herself,  that  she  may  run  to  the 
promises  set  forth  in  the  New/ 

f  Such  is  Luther's  representation  of  the  New  Testament  as 
contrasted  with  the  Old,  and  of  the  Gospel.  The  New  is 
'  promises  and  exhortations  ;'  the  Old  is  '  law  and  threaten 
ing^. '  The  Gospel  is  f  the  Spirit,  and  grace  unto  salvation, 
offered  to  all  men  ;  through  Christ,  who  died  for  all.'* — For 
some  objections  to  this  statement,  as  it  respects  '  offers  of 
grace,'  see  above,  Sect,  xxiii.  note  a;  as  it  respects  the  oppo 
sition  between  the  Law  and  the  Gospel,  see  above,  Sect.  xxiv. 
note  '. — The  Gospel  is  certainly  to  be  preached  to  all  j  to  the 
reprobate  as  well  as  to  the  elect ;  but  with  what  propriety  this 
can  be  called  '  an  offer  of  grace '  to  all,  or  to  any,  may  be  fairly 
questioned  :  much  more,  with  what  consistency  such  language 
can  be  used  by  one  who  so  stoutly  maintained,  as  Luther  did, 
both  the  impotency  of  the  natiiral  man,  and  the  God-made 
difference  between  the  elect  and  the  reprobate.  With  such  views 
as  Luther  had  of  the  atonement,  as  though  Christ  had  shed  his 
blood  for  those  from  whom  it  was  the  Father's  good  pleasure 
to  hide  the  mysteries  of  his  kingdom ;  and  with  such  a  want 
of  insight  into  the  first  principle  of  divine  counsel,  operation, 
and  revelation — even  God's  design  of  manifesting  himself} 
in  short,  with  such  a  want  of  insight  into  God  ;  it  was  im 
possible  that  he  should  not  speak  inconsistently.  Indeed  it 
would  be  little,  if  inconsistency  were  all.  Such  language  is 
illusive,  perplexing,  and  subversive  to  man ;  and,  whilst  it 
aims  to  beautify  God,  defames  him  !  He  is  correct,  however, 
to  some  considerable  extent :  he  nobly  asserts,  that  salva 
tion  is  altogether  gratuitous,  the  produce  of  the  Father's 
mercy,  conferred  upon  the  hell-deserving  through  the  alone 
merit  of  Christ's  death.  He  nobly  asserts,  that  the  precep 
tive  parts  of  the  New  Testament  are  for  the  called  and  jus 
tified  only. — But  why  is  the  Old  Testament  to  be  thus  set  in 
array  against  the  New  ?  Where  is  '  the  law  and  threaten- 
ings '  in  the  book  of  Genesis  ?  What  more  truly  Evangelical 
words  are  to  be  found  in  the  New  Testament,  than  in  Isaiah 
and  the  other  Prophets  ;  in  the  Psalms,  and  in  Luther's  favour 
ite  book  of  Deuteronomy  ?  '  The  Old  Testament,  as  our 
7th  Article  wisely  speaks,  is  not  contrary  to  the  New  :  for 
both  in  the  Old  and  New  Testament  everlasting  life  is  offered 
to  mankind  by  Christ,  who  is  the  only  mediator  between  God 
and  man,  being  both  God  and  man.' — The  truth  is,  even  the 
Law  itself,  as  I  have  already  remarked,  is  '  Gospel  in  enigma  j' 
and  the  scribe  that  is  instructed  in  the  New  Testament  finds 
the  Old  its  best  commentator  and  confirmer ;  what  has  in 
structed  the  same  family  in  its  tenderer  years,  and  now  makes 
the  "  young  men"  perfect. — /  should  speak  rather  differently 

*  Note,  he  distinguishes  between  the  Spirit  and  grace,  though  not  very 
correctly;  it  is  the  Spirit  as  given  to  the  justified,  of  which  he  speaks :  but 
this  is  part  of  the  grace  of  God ;  that  is,  "  of  the  things  which  are  freely 
given  to  us  of  God." 


But  as  to  merit,  or  a  reward  being  proposed,     SECT. 
what  is  this  but  a  sort  of  promise  ?     This  proves   XXXVIL 
not  that  we  have  any  power;  for  nothitig  else  is  TT 

,  ,        .,    ,      ,  I,1       .c    '  i     11  i  i  Merit  and 

expressed  by  it,  but  that,  it  a  man  shall  have  done  reward 
this  or  that  thing,  then  he  shall  have  a  reward.  maycon- 
But  our  question  is,  not  how*  a  reward,  or  what  necessity. 
sort  of  a  reward,  shall  be  rendered  to  a  man ;  but 
whether  we  can  do  those  things  to  which  a 
reward  is  rendered.  This  was  the  thing  to  be 
proved.  Is  it  not  a  ridiculous  consequence  : 
The  reward  of  the  judge  is  proposed  to  all  that 
are  in  the  course;  therefore  all  can  run  and  ob 
tain  ?  If  Caesar  shall  have  conquered  the  Turk, 
he  shall  enjoy  the  kingdom  of  Syria :  therefore 
Ca3sar  can  conquer,  and  does  conquer  the  Turk. 
If  Freewill  rules  over  sin,  it  shall  be  holy  to  the 
Lord ;  therefore  Freewill  is  holy  to  the  Lord. — 
But  I  will  say  no  more  about  these  superlatively 
stupid  and  palpably  absurd  reasonings ;  save,  that 
it  is  most  worthy  of  Freewill  to  be  defended  by 
such  exquisite  arguments.  Let  me  rather  speak 
to  this  point ;  that  ( necessity  has  neither  merit, 

of  the  Apostles.  They  were  to  be  what  he  describes,  with 
the  exception  of  one  of  them  j  but  they  ivere  not  this  yet. 
If  they  could  be  truly  said  to  know  Christ  at  all,  till  the  day 
of  Pentecost  was  fully  come,  they  knew  him  "  after  the  flesh." 
(2  Cor.  v.  16.)  But  it  is  not  to  the  Twelve  exclusively,  that 
the  Lord  addresses  these  words  (Matt.  v.  12.),  nor  of  them 
exclusively  that  he  speaks.  His  precepts  were  for  the  regu 
lation  of  their  conduct,  and  of  the  conduct  of  all  his  converted 
people  (whilst  walking  through  the  wilderness  of  this  world 
in  his  kingdom),  as  they  should  hereafter  be  called,  one  by  one, 
into  vital  union  with  him  :  that  union,  of  which  his  elect  have 
the  sacrament  in  their  baptism,  but  the  reality,  when  either 
before  or  after  the  receiving  of  that  sacrament,  the  Spirit  has 
been  given,  to  convert  and  to  dwell  in  them. — Luther's  argu 
ment,  however,  is  not  shaken  by  this  distinction.  The  Lord 
speaks  as  to  real  members  of  his  kingdom  ;  to  persons  there 
fore,  who  are  above  and  beyond  that  state  of  Freewill  which  is 
the  matter  of  dispute. — Already  Luther  has  shewn  Erasmus  in 
consistent  with  himself  in  arguing  from  this  text  (see  Sect, 
xxxv.)  :  his  second  answer  is,  (  this  text  (to  which  all  other 
New  Testament  precepts  might  be  added)  does  not  apply.' 

g  Quo  modo.~]  How,  in  point  of  action ;  what  he  must  do 
that  he  may  be  entitled. 


PART  in.  nor  reward.'  If  we  speak  of  a  necessity  of  com- 
""  pulsion,  it  is  true  :  if  we  speak  of  a  necessity  of 
immutability,  it  is  false.11  Who  would  give  a 
reward,  or  impute  merit,  to  an  unwilling  work 
man?  But  to  those  who  wilfully  do  good  or  evil, 
even  though  they  cannot  change  this  will  by  their 
own  power,  there  follows,  naturally  and  neces 
sarily,  reward  or  punishment;  as  it  is  written, 
"  Thou  wilt  render  unto  every  man  according  to 
his  works."  It  follows  naturally,  '  if  you  plunge 
into  water,  you  will  be  suffocated ;  if  you  swim 
out,  you  will  save  your  life.' 

To  be  brief;  in  the  matter  of  merit,  or  reward, 
the  inquiry  is  either  about  the  worthiness,  or 
about  the  consequence,  of  actions.  If  you  look 
at  worthiness,  there  is  no  such  thing  as  merit ; 
there  is  no  such  thing  as  reward.  For,  if  Free 
will  can  will  nothing  good  of  itself,  and  wills  good 
only  through  grace  (we  are  speaking,  you  know, 
of  Freewill  as  separate  from  grace,  and  are  in 
quiring  what  power  is  proper  to  each),  who  does 
not  see  that  this  good  will,  together  with  its 
merit  and  its  reward,  is  of  grace  only?  And 
here  again,  Diatribe  is  at  variance  with  herself  in 
arguing  the  freedom  of  the  will  from  merit,  and 
is  in  the  same  condemnation  with  me  whom  she 
opposes :  since  it  fights  equally  against  herself 
as  against  me,  that  there  is  merit,  that  there  is 
reward,  that  there  is  liberty;  after  she  has  asserted, 
as  she  does  above,  that  Freewill  can  will  nothing 
good,  and  has  undertaken  to  prove  such  a  sort  of 

If  you  look  at  the  consequences  of  actions, 
there  is  nothing  either  good  or  bad,  which  has  not 
its  reward.  And  we  get  into  mistakes  from  this 
cause,  that,  in  speaking  of  merits  and  rewards, 
we  agitate  useless  considerations  and  questions 
about  the  worth  of  actions — which  is  none — when 

h  For  this  distinction,  see  above,  Part  i.  Sect.  xi.  Sect. 



we  ought  to  be  debating  only  about  the  conse-  SECT. 
quences  of  them.  For  hell  and  the  judgment  of  XXXVI1- 
God  await  the  wicked  by  a  necessary  conse 
quence,,  even  though  they  themselves  neither  de 
sire,  nor  think  of  such  a  reward  for  their  sins ; 
nay,  though  they  exceedingly  detest  and,  as  Peter 
says,  execrate  it.'  In  like  manner,  the  kingdom 
awaits  the  godly,  though  they  neither  seek  it,  nor 
think  of  it  themselves ;  being  a  possession  pre 
pared  for  them  of  their  Father,  not  only  before 
they  were  themselves  in  existence,  but  even  be- 
'fore  the  foundation  of  the  world. 

Nay,  if  these  latter  were  doing  good  that  they 
might  obtain  the  kingdom,  they  never  would 
obtain  it;  and  would  belong  rather  to  the  com 
munity  of  the  wicked,  who,  with  an  evil  and 
mercenary  eye,  "  seek  their  own,"k  even  in 
God.  But  the  sons  of  God  do  good  through  a 
gratuitous  good  pleasure ;  not  seeking  any  re 
ward,  but  simply  seeking  the  glory,  and  aiming 
to  do  the  will,  of  God :  they  are  prepared  to  do 
good,  even  though  according  to  an  impossible 
supposition,  there  were  no  such  thing  as  either 
kingdom  or  hell-fire.  I  think  these  things  are 
quite  sure  from  that  single  saying  of  Christ  in 
Matt.  xxv.  "  Come  ye  blessed  of  my  Father, 
receive  the  kingdom,  which  hath  been  prepared 

1  Detestentur,  execrentur .]  For  proper  meaning  of  '  detes- 
tor,'  see  above,  Part  5.  Sect.  vii.  note  l.  It  is  opposed  to 
'  obtestor;'  as  calling  God  to  witness,  unto  evil  and  not  unto 
good.  '  Malum  alicui  imprecari,  Dcos  testes  ciendo  ,-'  '  execrari.' 
Here,  however,  I  understand  it  literally,  according  to  its 
derived  meaning  ;  and  so, '  exsecror  ;'  which  properly  denotes 
'  removing  out  of  sacred  relations,'  or  subjecting  to  a  curse. — 
The  allusion  is  to  2  Pet.  ii.  10 — 15.  "  But  these. .  . .  speak  evil 
of  the  things  they  understand  not,  and  shall  utterly  perish  in 
their  own  corruption ;  and  shall  receive  the  reward  of  un 
righteousness."  B\a«T0i7/iHj/Te9.  The  original  text  makes  the 
reference  plainer  than  our  version. 

k  "  All  seek  their  own,  not  the  things  which  are  Jesus 
Christ's."  (Phil.  ii.  21.)  Not  content  with  seeking  their  own 
glory,  &c.  &c.  in  their  dealings  with  man,  they  seek  it  even 
from  the  hands  of  God  :  He  is  to  do  them  good,  not  himself. 


PART  HI.  for  you  from  the  foundation  of  the  world."  How 
do  they  earn  that,  which  is  even  now  theirs,  and 
which  was  prepared  for  them  before  they  were 
born  ?  So  that  we  should  speak  more  correctly, 
if  we  should  say,  the  kingdom  of  God  doth 
rather  earn  us  for  its  possessors,  than  we  it; 
placing  merit  where  they  place  reward,  and 
reward  where  they  place  merit.  For  the  king 
dom  is  not  to  be  prepared,  but  hath  been  pre 
pared  ;  but  the  children  of  the  kingdom  are  to  be 
prepared,  not  themselves  to  prepare  the  king-s 
dom:  that  is,  the  kingdom  earns  her  children,  : 
not  the  children  the  kingdom.  Hell,  in  like  man 
ner,  doth  rather  earn  her  children,  and  prepare 
them,  than  they  it ;  since  Christ  says,  "  Depart 
ye  cursed  into  everlasting  fire,  which  hath  been 
prepared  for  the  devil  and  his  angels."1 

1  Erasmus  objects,  that  c  so  much  mention  of  good  works 
and  reward,  in  Scripture,  is  inconsistent  with  mere  necessity  j 
which  can  have  no  merit.' 

Luther  answers,  though  not  exactly  in  this  order  :  1.  Merit 
and  reward  are  as  inconsistent  with  your  Freewill  (which  can 
will  nothing  good)  as  with  mine.  2.  Reward  is  a  matter  of 
promise ;  which  implies  nothing  of  power,  the  alone  thing  in 
question.  3.  Merit  and  reward  are  not  inconsistent  with  a 
necessity  of  immutability,  though  they  be  inconsistent  with  a 
necessity  of  compulsion.  (See  above,  note  h.)  Merit  is  not 
necessarily  merit  of  worth ;  reward  may  be  a  consequence  of 
actions,  in  which  there  is  no  merit  of  worth.  4.  The  king 
doms  of  heaven  and  hell  earn  their  children^  severally;  not 
they  them. 

The  two  first  of  these  answers  are  valid;  and,  if  it  were 
merely  so  many  rounds  of  the  boxer,  or  so  many  grapple- 
ments  of  the  wrestler,  of  which  we  are  watching  the  result, 
we  must  give  the  palm  to  Luther :  he  has  supplanted,  he  has 
knocked  down  his  antagonist.  But  we  want  to  hear  some 
thing  against  merit  and  reward  :  and  here,  Luther  is  evasive 
and  subtle  in  his  reasoning,  though  correct  in  his  conclusion. 
Necessity  of  immutability  does  not  necessarily  imply  absence 
of  merit ;  because  that  which  the  Avill  cannot  do  for  itself,  it 
may  be  changed  by  another  to  do.  Luther  has  supplied  the 
basis  of  a  solid  and  satisfactory  answer,  in  his  fourth  reply; 
Avhilst  he  has  neither  opened  it,  nor  appears  to  be  sensible  of 
its  force  and  marrow.  '  The  kingdoms  earn  their  children 
severally,  not  they  them.' 


Then  what  mean  those  declarations  which  pro-     SECT. 
mise   the  kingdom   and    threaten    hell  ?     What  XXXVIIL 

Upon  Luther's  principles,  it  is  impossible  to  give  a  solid  an-  are'oro_ 
swer  to  the  objection  of  '  merit.'  For,  if  Christ  has  died  alike  m;ses  an(i 
for  all ;  if  he  has  done  and  suffered  the  same  both  for  the  elect  threaten- 
and  for  the  reprobate  5  so  that  there  is  no  difference  between  ings  in 
them,  as  far  as  respects  HIS  merit  (which  is  the  essence  of  the  Scripture, 
doctrine  of  Universal  Redemption)  ;  then,  either  there  must  be 
merit  in  the  individuals  of  the  elect,  or  there  is  with  God 
repect  of  persons  :  HE  makes  a  different  award  to  some  from 
what  he  does  to  others,  alike  meritorious  or  unmeritorious, 
through  partiality.  Nor  will  it  suffice  to  say  (as  Luther  does), 
this  reward  is  mere  matter  of  consequence,  like  the  man  swim 
ming  out  of  water,  &c.  God  sees  somewhere  that  which  makes 
it  the  demand  of  His  justice  that  he  should  put  a  difference : 
and,  since  this  is  not  in  Christ,  it  must  be  in  the  individuals 
themselves.  The  true  answer  is,  that  God  has  assumed  dis 
tinct,  super-creation  relations  to  his  elect,  in  Christ;  which 
render  it  imperative  upon  him  to  give  them  grace  and  glory, 
each  in  its  season.  This  is  the  true  meaning  of  the  kingdom 
of  heaven  earning  her  sons  :  there  are  relations  of  and  be 
longing  to  that  kingdom,  which  communicate  the  power  that  is 
necessary  to  the  inheriting  of  that  kingdom,  in  consistency 
with  all  that  God  is,  and  to  the  manifestation  of  him  as  that 
God  which  he  is.  So  again,  with  respect  to  the  kingdom  of 
hell :  that  kingdom  has  relations  which  have  procured  its  in 
habitants  and  inheritors.  The  devil  has  had  a  power  given  to 
him,  by  which  he  has  drawn  legions  into  his  service,  and 
is  bringing  those  legions  to  be  his  companion  in  torments  j 
legions,  not  of  devils  only,  but  of  reprobate  and  accursed  men  : 
from  which  number,  as  equally  ruined  by  the  devil  and  self- 
destroyed  with  the  rest,  the  elect  people  of  God,  through  their 
super-creation  relations  to  him  in  Christ,  or,  as  it  has  just  now 
been  expressed,  through  the  relations  of  the  kingdom  of  God 
(of  which  God,  of  his  distinguishing  favour,  has  given  to  them 
to  be  members),  are  rescued.  Merit  and  reward  are  made 
nearly  as  much  a  stumbling-block  to  the  maintainers  of  free 
grace,  as  the  sin  and  impotency  of  the  natural  man  are  to  the 
merit-mongers  :  with  this  difference,  that  the  stumbling-blocks 
which  may  be  thrown  vipon  the  path  of  truth  are  superable  and 
removable,  whilst  falsehood  may  pass  by,  and  cover  over, 
but  she  cannot  expose  and  expel  her  stumbling-blocks. 
Too  often,  however,  the  sincere  and  strenuous  advocates  of 
truth  defend  her  cause  weakly,  and  even  dangerously. — Who 
will  be  satisfied,  for  instance,  with  that  answer  to  an  objection 
brought  against  the  truth,  which  assumes  that  there  is  no  such 
thing  as  "  recompense  of  reward"  in  the  Bible ;  no  soldier's 
crown;  no  servant's  wages ;  no  agonistic  palm  ;  no  'for*  to 
the  call  of  the  blessed  of  my  Father ;  or  that  all  these  things  and 


PART  in.  meanetli  that  word  <  reward/  so  often  repeated  as 
-  it  is,   throughout  the  Scriptures  ?     "  Thy  work 

sayings  are  resolvable  into  what  Christ  personally  hath  clone  ; 
and  might,  if,  according  to  that  will  of  his  and  of  the  Father's 
which  is  represented  as  no  other  than  perfectly  arbitrary,  he 
saw  fit  to  do  so,  be  bestowed  upon  his  enemies  and  blasphemers, 
just  as  righteously  as  upon  his  servant-friends  ?  (See  John. 
xv.  15.) 

The  true  objection  to  merit  and  reward  is,  that,  as  generally 
understood  and  represented,  they  suppose  something  of  good 
in  the  natural  man;  in  that  self-ruined,  self-damned,  and  self- 
made-impotent  thing  which  has  merited  Hell  before  he  was 
born  into  the  world,  and  can  merit  nothing  but  Hell. — But, 
what  now  if  it  please  God  to  give  to  this  self-ruined,  self- 
made-impotent  thing  new  powers,  under  a  new  relation,  and 
by  a  new  title  ?  Is  there  any  thing  to  prevent  God  from 
accepting  an  equivalent,  if  such  can  be  found,  for  that  punish 
ment  which  is  the  just  reward  of  this  his  moral  creature's  sin ; 
and,  of  his  own  free,  sovereign  and  distinguishing  favour  (as  it 
respects  the  subject  of  his  infinite,  everlasting,  and  inestimable 
bounty),  placing  him  in  new  relations,  and  endowing  him  with 
new  capacities  as  the  fruit  of  those  relations  ?  And  why  may  not 
this  new-made  creature,  so  related,  so  capacitated,  and  so  con 
nected,  act  in  a  manner  worthy  of  those  relations,  and  so  entitle 
himself  to  those  results  which  the  God  of  all  grace  has  seen 
fit  to  attach  to  the  maintenance  and  fulfilment  of  those  rela 
tions  ? — This  is  just  the  state  and  case  of  the  eternally  fore 
known,  elect,  predestinated,  given  and  received  people  of  God, 
in  Christ  Jesus,  their  grace  and  glory  Head.  Contemplated  as 
now  already  self-destroyed  and  fallen  in  Adam  ;  under  express 
sentence  of  death,  with  all  that  awful  hereafter  which  was 
implied  though  not  expressed  in  that  sentence  ;  the  Lord  Jesus, 
by  making  himself  sin  for  them,  and  dying  Avith  them,  renders 
it  consistent  in  God  to  raise  them  up  from  the  dead,  and  to 
bring  them  out  into  a  new  state  of  being,  with  new  relations, 
capacities,  enjoyments  and  privileges,  in  him.  In  a  figure, 
they  are  said  to  have  risen  with  Christ ;  in  reality,  the  indubi- 
tability  of  their  future  rising  was  publicly  sealed,  and  manifested 
to  the  whole  world,  by  his  rising  :  I  say  publicly,  because  it 
had  been  secretly  sealed,  in  the  eternal  covenant  transactions  of 
the  Three  in  Jehovah,  before  the  worlds.  "  This  is  that  grace 
which  was  given  us  in  Christ  Jesus  before  the  world  began." 
(2  Tim.  i.  9.)  Regeneration,  in  its  most  correct  view,  is  a 
partial  fulfilment  of  the  personal  resurrection  of  the  Lord's 
elect  :  it  is  the  resurrection  of  the  soul  or  spirit.  "  The  hour 
is  coming,  and  now  is,  when  the  dead  shall  hear  the  voice  of 
the  Son  of  God,  and  they  that  hear  shall  live."  (John  v.  25.) 
By  it  they  are  brought  into  a  resurrection  state ;  are  shewn  to 
be  of  those  who  shall  hereafter  rise  with  a  body  like  His,  and 


hath  a  reward,"  saith  he.     "  I  am  thy  exceeding;     SECT. 

O     "V"V"  V  XT'  FT  T 

great  reward."     Again ;    "  Who  rendereth  unto 

are  now  called  to  serve  him  in  an  intermediate  state,  as  "  God's 
workmanship,  created  in  Christ  Jesus  unto  good  works,  which 
God  hath  before  ordained  that  we  should  walk  in  them."* 
(Ephes.  ii.  10.)  Thus  they  are,  essentially,  grace  receivers  of 
grace  powers,  called  and  enabled  to  act  in  a  manner  worthy  of 
a  grace  reward.  Here  is  reward  then,  not  of  mere  consequence, 
but  of  merit :  of  merit,  which  has  worth  or  dignity  in  it,  yet  is 
all  the  while  grace ;  free,  distinguishing,  sovereign  grace. 
Thus  grace  reigneth  ;  but  it  is  THROUGH  RIGHTEOUSNESS  :  which 
means,  if  the  connection  of  those  words  be  duly  observed,  not 
merely  through  Christ's  being  personally  righteous ;  but 
through,  and  in  a  way  of  righteousness,  as  it  respects  the 
persons  of  his  people.  (Rom.  v.  2O,  21.  compare  with  the  whole 
of  Rom.  vi.  which  follows,  specially  from  ver.  14  to  ver.  23.) — 
Many,  doubtless,  will  cavil  at  this  statement ;  but  it  is  for 
lack  of  distinguishing  things  which  essentially  differ ;  it  is  for 
lack  of  understanding  the  true  nature,  origin,  design,  consti 
tuent  subjects,  and  provisions  of  the  kingdom  of  God  ;  it  is 
for  lack  of  understanding  that  the  members  of  that  kingdom 
are  persons  already  saved  ("  Who  hath  saved  us,  and  called 
us  with  an  holy  calling  5"  "for  by  grace  ye  are  saved;" 
"  unto  us  which  are  saved,  it  is  the  power  of  God")  ;  not 
men  striving  for  life  to  get  life,  but  a/m/e/y-living  men ;  not 
natural  men,  but  men  joined  unto  the  Lord,  and  who  are  one 
spirit  with  him  ;  which  constitute  the  reward-earning  commu 
nity  :  concerning  whom,  it  is  God's  glory  that  they,  being 
brought  out,  as  they  are,  in  the  face  and  heart  of  the  world — 
a  world  made  up  of  hypocrites,  or  false  professors  of  his  name, 
on  the  one  hand  ;  and  of  declared  enemies  and  persecutors  on 
the  other — "  should  walk  worthy  of  the  vocation  wherewith 
they  are  called  ;"  fl  should  walk  worthy  of  God,  who  hath 
called  them  to  his  kingdom  and  glory  ;"  "  should  be  counted 
worthy  of  his  kingdom,"  and  should  manifest  him  to  be  the 
righteous  God  in  recompensing  rest  (their  consummation  and 
bliss)  to  them,  when  he  recompenseth  tribulation  to  them  that 
have  troubled  them." — If  this  statement  be  duly  apprehended, 

*  When  we  speak  of  good  works,  people  are  apt  to  run  immediately  into 
the  idea  of  law  works,  as  if  the  Ten  Commandments  were  to  be  brought 
back  again :  not  considering,  that  good  is  a  relative  term ;  and  that  good 
works,  therefore,  must  be  those  which  are  consistent  with  the  relations  under 
which  we  stand,  when  performing1  them.  If  it  were  possible  for  renewed 
man,  I'M  the  cltiys  of  hi,?  Jiesh,  to  keep  the  whole  law,  he  would  not  thereby 
do  good  works.  The  law  is  for  creation  man ;  the  Gospel  is  for  super- 
creation  man.  It  is  the  obedience  of  a  redeemed  sinner,  to  which  he  is 
called  in  Christ  Jesus ;  an  obedience  analogous  to  that  fuller  and  more  dis 
tinct  manifestation  of  God,  which  he  has  made  of  himself  in  his  new,  after- 
creation  kingdom.  To  this  obedience,  as  many  as  have  been  created,  or 
builded,  in  Christ  Jesus  from  the  very  first,  as  Abel,  &c,  have  been  called 
and  brought,  according  to  their  measure  of  faith. 


PART  in.  every  man  according  to  his  works."     And  Paul 
in    Romans   ii.    saith,     "  To    those   who   by   the 

patience  of  good  works  seek  for   eternal   life :" 

and  many  like  sayings. 

The   answer   is,   that  all  these   sayings   prove 

nothing  but  a  consequence  of  reward,  and  by  no 

means  a  worthiness  of  merit : m    that   those,  for- 

it  will  give  their  legitimate  force  and  meaning  to  numberless 
passages  of  Scripture,  which  some  bring  forward  to  contradict 
the  truth  of  God,  and  others  pare  down  and  mutilate  to  main 
tain  it. — The  essence  of  the  distinction  too,  that  the  grace 
which  earneth  reward  is  truly  super-creation  grace,  furnishes  a 
sure  test  by  which  to  try  and  convict  hypocrites.  How  com 
mon  is  the  language,  '  O,  I  know  I  have  nothing  that  I  have 
not  received.'  Yes,  but  how  hast  thou  received  it  ?  Grace  is 
that  principle  in  the  divine  mind  which  makes  distinctions  : 
grace  is  not  only  favour,  but  free  favour  ;  not  only  free  favour, 
but  separating  favour ;  in  the  case  we  are  considering,  is  sepa 
rating  favour,  shewn  in  a  way  of  mercy  ;  that  is,  shewn  to  those 
who  have  deserved  a  contrary  sort  of  treatment.  Hast  thou 
received  then  by  a  new  and  super-creation  title  ;  which  puts 
a  difference  between  Adam's  alike  self-destroyed  and  wholly- 
destroyed  sons  ?  Or,  is  it  that  thou  hast  cultivated  thy  natural 
powers  j  or,  if  it  pleaseth  thee  rather,  hast  improved  that  gos 
pel-grace  which  is  bestowed  on  all,  and  has  put  all  into  a 
capacity  of  working  out  their  own  salvation  ?  The  answer 
will  unmask  the  man :  grace  knows  itself,  and  knows  its 

In  asserting  that  the  kingdom  of  hell  has  earned,  and  is  earn 
ing,  its  subjects  through  a  power  which  God  has  given  to  the 
devil,  I  would  be  understood  to  intimate  that  the  devil  could 
neither  be,  nor  continue  to  be,  without  the  will  of  God;  and 
that  hell  is  filled  through  his  agency  :  by  which,  in  perfect 
consistency  with  all  creation  relations  and  obligations,  ruin 
was  originally  brought  upon  man  ;  and  by  which  he  secures 
and  retains  to  himself  that  spoil,  which  it  is  the  Father's  good 
pleasure  that  he  should  carry  off,  to  ins  glory. 

m  Sequelam  mercedis,  meriti  dignitatem.']  The  expression  seems 
inverted  ;  '  worthiness  of  merit,'  for  merit  which  has  worth  in 
it :  the  meaning  clearly  is  '  reward  follows  as  a  consequence, 
but  there  is  nothing  of  meritorious  worthiness  in  the  subject.' 
Luther,  in  what  follows,  overstates  the  matter  of  disinterested 
ness  ;  and  afterwards  virtually  contradicts  himself.  We  are 
not  called  to  be  insensible  to  the  end,  but  urged  to  keep  it  in 
view  ;  and  why,  but  as  a  source  of  encouragement  ?  which  he 
presently  affirms.  What,  indeed,  is  that  '  following  because,' 
but  an  admission  of  the  same  thing  ? — The  cure  for  servility 
is,  "  to  the  praise  of  the  glory  of  his  grace"— '  saved 


sooth,  who  do  good,  do  it  not  through  a  servile  SECT. 
and  mercenary  disposition  to  gain  eternal  life,  but  xxxvnl- 
still  seek  eternal  life ;  that  is,  are  in  the  way  by 
which  they  shall  arrive  at  and  obtain  eternal  life. 
So  that,  to  seek  eternal  life,  is  painfully  to  strive, 
and  with  urgent  labour  to  endeavour,  because  it 
is  wont  to  follow  after  a  good  life.  Now,  the 
Scriptures  declare  that  these  things  will  take 
place,  and  will  follow  after  a  good  or  evil  life;  in 
order  that  men  may  be  instructed,  admonished, 
excited,  terrified :  for,  as  by  the  law  is  the  know 
ledge  of  sin  and  admonishment  of  our  impotency, 
yet  is  it  not  inferred  from  this  law  that  we  have 
any  power  ;  even  so,  we  are  admonished  and 
taught,  by  those  promises  and  threatenings,  what 
follows  after  that  sin  and  impotency  of  ours, 
which  the  law  has  pointed  out  to  us  ;  but  nothing 
of  worthiness  is  ascribed  by  them  to  our  merit. 

Wherefore,  as  law  words  stand  in  the  place  of 
instruction  and  illumination,  to  teach  us  what  we 
ought  to  do ;  and,  as  the  next  step,  what  we  can 
not  do :  so  words  of  reward,  whilst  they  intimate 
what  is  to  happen,  stand  in  the  place  of  exhort 
ation  and  threatening,  to  stir  up,  comfort,  and 
revive  the  godly,"  that  they  may  go  on,  persevere, 
and  conquer,  in  doing  good,  and  enduring  evil, 
least  they  should  be  weary  or  broken-hearted. 
Just  as  Paul  exhorts  his  Corinthian  converts, 
saying,  "  Quit  yourselves  like  men;"  "knowing 
that  your  labour  is  not  in  vain  in  the  Lord/'0 

already' — '  the  triumph  sure' — '  Christ  magnified  by  my 
body' — '  God  does  all  our  works  in  us' — '  we  will  do  what 
he  enables' — '  we  will  suffer  what  he  appoints  to  us' — '  happy 
by  the  way' — '  how  much  more  happy  when  in  my  Father's 
house  ! ' — There  is  nothing  mercenary  here  ;  but  the  end  is 
neither  hidden,  nor  undesired. — See  above,  note  '. 

n  Excitantur,  consolantur,  eriguntur.']  EJCC.  is  a  more  general 
term,  applicable  to  any  that  want  excitement ;  but  erig.  applies 
especially  to  those  who  have  fallen  or  been  cast  down,  and  so 
want  raising  up.  How  beautifully  this  process  is  described  in 
Ezek.  xxxiv. ! 

0  Luther  quotes  these  words  as  if  they  were  parts  of  the 




objects  to 
this  ac 
count,  but 
is  an 
'  such  is 
the  will  of 


Thus  God  revives  Abraham  by  saying,  <  I  am  thy 
exceeding  great  reward.'  Just  as  if  you  should 
cheer  a  person,  by  telling  him  that  his  works 
assuredly  please  God :  a  sort  of  consolation  which 
the  Scripture  frequently  uses.  Nor  is  it  a  small 
degree  of  consolation  for  a  man  to  know  that  he 
pleases  God ;  though  nothing  else  should  follow 
from  it:  which  is,  however,  impossible. 

All  that  is  said  about  hope  and  expectation 
must  be  referred  to  this  consideration,  that  the 
things  hoped  for  will  certainly  take  place ;  al 
though  godly  men  do  not  hope,  because  of  the 
things  themselves,  or  seek  such  benefits  for  their 
own  sake.  So  again,  ungodly  men  are  terrified 
and  cast  down  by  words  of  threatening,  which 
announce  a  judgment  to  come,  that  they  may 
cease  and  abstain  from  evil;  that  they  may  not 
be  puffed  up  ;  that  they  may  not  grow  secure  and 
insolent  in  their  sins. — Now,  if  reason  should  turn 
up  her  nose  here  and  say,  '  Why  would  God  have 
these  impressions  to  be  made  by  his  words,  when 
no  effect  is  produced  by  such  words,  and  when 
the  will  cannot  turn  itself  either  way?  why  doth 
he  not  perform  what  he  doth,  without  taking  no 
tice  of  it  in  the  word  (seeing  he  can  do  all 
things  without  the  word ;  and  seeing  the  will 
neither  has  more  power,  nor  performs  more,  ofij 
itself,  through  the  hearing  of  the  word,  if  the 
Spirit  be  lacking  to  move  the  soul  within;  nori 
would  have  less  power,  or  perform  less,  though 
the  word  were  silent,  if  the  Spirit  were  vouch- j 
safed;  since  all  depends  upon  the  power  andi 
work  of  the  Holy  Ghost);  my  reply  is,  God  has 
determined  to  give  the  Spirit  by  the  word,  and 
not  without  it,  having  us  for  his  cooperators,  to 
sound  without  what  he  alone  and  by  himself 
breathes  within,  just  where  he  pleases;  producing 
effects,  which  he  could  no  doubt  accomplish; 

same  sentence  :  but  the  one  is  part  of  1  Cor.  xv.  58.  the  other 
of  1  Cor.  xvi.  13. 


without  the  word,  bat  which  it  is  not  his  SECT. 
pleasure  so  to  do.  And  who  are  we,  that  wre  XXXIX' 
should  demand  the  reason  why  God  wills  so  ?  It 
is  enough  for  us  to  know  that  God  wills  so;  and 
it  becomes  us  to  reverence,,  to  love,  and  to  adore 
this  will,  putting  a  restraint  upon  rash  Reason. 
Even  Christ,  in  Matt.  xi.  assigns  no  other  cause 
for  the  Gospel  being  hidden  from  the  wise  and 
revealed  to  babes,  than  that  so  it  seemed  good  to 
the  Father.p  So  he  might  nourish  us  without 
bread,  and  he  has,  in  point  of  fact,  given  us  a 
power  of  being  nourished  without  bread,  as  he 
says  in  Matt.  iv.  (f  Man  is  not  nourished  by 
bread  alone,  but  by  the  word  of  God."q  Still,  it 
hath  pleased  him  to  nourish  us  inwardly  by  his 
word,  through  the  means  of  bread ;  and  that 
bread  fetched  into  us  from  without/ 

It  stands  good,  therefore,  that  merit  is  not 
proved  by  reward ;  in  the  Scriptures,  at  least : 
and  again,  that  Freewill  is  not  proved  by  merit; 
much  less  such  a  Freewill  as  Diatribe  has  under 
taken  to  prove ;  one  which  cannot  will  any  thing 
good,  of  itself.  For,  if  you  should  even  concede 
that  there  is  such  a  thing  as  merit,  and  should 

p  Here  we  are  reminded  again  of  the  defect  of  Luther's 

views.     It  is  not  arbitrary  will,  but  counselled  will  of  God 

accomplishing  the  best   end   by  just    and   necessary   means, 

which  gives  occasion  to  this  arrangement.     The   declaration 

of  his  truth,  by  the  word,  to  the  self-made-impotent  is  neces- 

ary   to   the   manifestation  of  himself,   through   his   dealings 

vith  them.     The   "  Even  so,  Father,"  would  be  enough  ;  but 

e    has  been  so  kind  as   to  show  us  more  ;     and   there    are 

>laces  and  seasons  where  this  '  more'  should  be  brought  into 

iht.     See  Sect,  xxviii.  notes  l  v  x. 

The    original   text   in    Deuteronomy  viii.    says,    Ki'itrSs, 

j r        T 

'Every  that  proceedeth;"  meaning  no  doubt,  as  the  Lord 
juotes  it,  '  every  word  of  command  which  he  gives.' 

Thus  it  is  God's  word  which  imparts  its  power  of  nou- 
ishing  to  the  natural  bread  ;  but  still  he  is  pleased  to  use 
hat  bread  :  so,  the  spiritual  bread  of  the  word  only  nourishes 
vhen  he  gives  the  word  for  it  to  do  so  ;  but  still  he  uses  that 
piritual  bread,  when  he  wills  to  nourish. 



PART  in.  add  those  wonted  similes  and  consequences   of 

Reason ;  as,  that  commandments  are  given  in  vain ; 

that  reward  is  promised  in  vain;  that  threaten- 
ings   are   held   forth   in  vain ;    except   there    be 
Freewill :  if  any  thing  be  proved  by  these  argu 
ments,  I  say,  it  is  that  Freewill  can  of  herself  do 
every  thing.  For,  if  she  cannot  do  every  thing  for 
herself,  that   consequence  of  reason   retains   its 
place ;   '  therefore  it  is  vain   to  command,   it   is 
vain  to  promise,  it  is  vain  to  hold  out  threaten- 
ings/     Thus    is   Diatribe   continually   disputing 
against  herself,  whilst  opposing  me.     The  truth 
meanwhile   is,    that    God    alone    worketh    both 
merit  and  reward  in  us,   by  his   Spirit;  but  he 
announces   and   declares   each   of   these   to   the 
whole  world,  by  his  outward  word ;  in  order  that 
his    own   power  and  glory,  and   our  impotency 
and  ignominy,  may  be  proclaimed  even  amongst 
the  ungodly,  the  unbelieving,  and  the  ignorant ; 
although   none   but    the    godly   understand   that 
word  with  the  heart,  and  keep  it  faithfully ;  the 
rest  despising  it. 
SEC.  XL.      And  now,  it  would  be  too  tiresome  to  repeat 

the  several  imperative  verbs  which  Diatribe  enu- 

Apoiop     merates  out  of  the  New  Testament ;  alwavs  ap- 

for  not  J         r 

consider-    pending  her  own  consequences,  pretending  that 
ing  ail  his   a}|  these  expressions  are  vain,  superfluous,  un- 
textsnsepa-  meaning,  absurd,  ridiculous,  nothing  at  all,  ex- 
rateiy.—     cept  the  Will  be  free.   I  have  already  declared,  to 
cavHfrom    a  high  degree  of  nauseating  repetition,  what  an 
Matt.         absolute  nothing  is  made  out  by  such  expressions 
as  these ;  which,  if  they  prove  any  thing,  prove 
an  entire  Freewill.    Now,  this  is  nothing  else  but 
a  complete  overturning  of  Diatribe;  who  under 
took  to  prove  such  a  Freewill  as  can  do  nothing 
good,  and  serves  sin ;  but  does  really  prove  one 
which  can  do  every  thing  :  so  ignorant  and  so  for 
getful  of  her  own  self  is  she  continually.  They  are 
mere  cavils  then,  when  she  argues,  ( ye  shall  know 
them  by  their  fruits/  saith  the  Lord :  by  fruits,  he 


means  works.     He  calls  these  works  ours:    but  SEC.XLI. 
they  are  not  ours,  if  all  things  be  performed  by 

What!  are  not  those  possessions  most  rightly 
called  ours,  which  we  have  not  made  ourselves,  it 
is  true,  but  have  received  from  others  ?  Why 
should  not  those  works  then  be  called  ours,  which 
God  hath  given  to  us  by  the  Spirit?  Shall  we 
not  call  Christ  ours,  because  we  have  not  made 
him,  but  only  received  him?  On  the  other  hand, 
if  we  make  all  those  things  which  are  called 
ours,  why  then  we  have  made  our  own  eyes  for 
ourselves,  we  have  made  our  own  hands  for 
ourselves,  we  have  made  our  own  feet  for  our- 
vselves;  unless  we  are  forbidden  to  call  our  eyes, 
hands,  and  feet  ours  !  Nay,  what  have  we,  which 
we  have  not  received ;  as  Paul  says  ?  Shall  we 
then  say,  that  these  possessions  are  either  not 
ours,  or  they  have  been  made  by  our  ownselves  ? 
But  let  be  now,  let  be  that  these  fruits  are  called 
ours,  because  we  have  produced  them  ;  what 
then  becomes  of  grace  and  the  Spirit  ?  For  he 
does  not  say,  f  by  their  fruits,  which  are  in  some 
very  small  degree  and  portion  theirs,  ye  shall 
know  them/5 — These,  rather,  are  the  ridiculous, 
the  superfluous,  the  vain,  the  unmeaning  sayings — 
nay,  a  parcel  of  foolish  and  odious  cavils,  by  which 
the  sacred  words  of  God  are  polluted  and  profaned. 

Thus  too,  that  saying  of  Christ  upon  the  cross 
s  sported  with;1  "Father,  forgive  them;  for  they  34-]s 
viiow  not  what  they  do."   (Here,  when  you  would  not /or 
expect   a   sentence   attaching"   Freewill    to    the  Freewill. 

s  Erasmus  argues,   it    is    necessary   to    their   being   called 

ours,'  that  they  be  done  by  our  own  natural  powers.  Then  they 

re  wJiollij  done  by  cur  natural  powers  j  for  he  calls  them  ours, 

vithout  addition  or  subtraction. — Then  there  is  no  Spirit  and 

,  -race  in  our  good  works. — Another  of  the  '  nimis  probats.' 

1  Luditur.~]  '  Ludo  se,  dclectationis  causa,  exercere.'  I  do 
ot  know  any  classical  authority  for  this  passive  form  of  the 
erb  'ludo.' — Verbum,  &c.  hiditur. 

u  Astrueret.~\  '  Juxta  struo,'  '  prope  extruo :'  not  super- 
ructurc/  but  'additional  or  contiguous  structure.' — It  is  the 

Q2  • 


PART  in.  testimony  adduced,  she  betakes  herself  again  to  her 

consequences.)     (  How  much  more  justly,    says 

she,  would  he  have  excused  them  by  saying  that 
they  were  those  who  had  not  a  free  will,  and 
could  not,  if  they  would,  do  otherwise!'  And  yet, 
that  sort  of  Freewill  which  can  will  nothing  good, 
though  it  be  the  one  in  question,  is  not  proved  by 
this  consequence  ;  but  that  sort  of  Freewill  which 
can  do  every  thing ;  which  no  one  contends  for, 
and  which  all  deny,  except  the  Pelagians. — But 
now,  when  Christ  expressly  says  that  they  know 
not  what  they  do,  does  he  not  at  the  same  time 
testify,  that  they  cannot  will  good  ?  For,  how  can 
you  will  what  you  do  not  know  ?  There  can  be 
no  desire,  surely,  for  an  unknown  thing.  What 
can  be  more  stoutly  affirmed  against  Freewill, 
than  that  it  is  in  itself  such  a  perfect  nullity,  as 
not  only  to  be  incapable  of  willing  good,  but  even 
of  knowing  how  much  evil  it  is  doing,  and  what 
good  is.  Is  there  any  obscurity  in  any  word 
here  ?  (<  They  know  not  what  they  do."  What 
is  there  remaining  in  Scripture,  which  may  not, 
by  the  suggestion  of  Diatribe,  prove  Freewill, 
when  this  most  clear  and  most  adversative  saying 
of  Christ  is  to  her  an  affirmation  of  it?  A  man 
might  just  as  easily  say,  that  Freewill  is  proved 
by  that  saying,  "  The  earth  was  empty v  and 
void;"  or  by  that,  "  God  rested  on  the  seventh 
day  :"  and  the  like.  Then  will  the  Scriptures  be 
ambiguous  and  obscure  indeed  !  nay,  they  will 
mean  all  things,  and  mean  nothing,  in  the  same 
moment.  But  such  audacious  handling  of  the 
word  of  God  argues  a  mind  signally  contemptuous 
both  towards  God  and  towards  man ;  which  de 
serves  no  patience  at  all." 

flying  off  from  the  proof  alleged,  in  pursuit  of  something  more 
remote ;  to  which  Luther  here  objects. 

v  Inanis.']  We  say,  '  without  form  ;'  but  Luther  has  it 
'  without  substance  ;'  having  nothing  in  it,  or  upon  it. 

x  Luther  answers,  1.  ft  is  inference.  2.  The  text  is  against 
you.  3.  Such  use  of  Scripture  is  criminal. 


So   again,   that  saying-  in   John  i.  "  To    them  SC.XLIL 

gave  he  power  to  become  the  sons  of  God/'  she  ; — 

takes  in  this  wise  :  '  How  can  power  be  given  to  j^"  foi!2' 
them,  that  they  should  become  the  sons  of  God,  grace. 
if  there  be  no  liberty  in  our  will  ?' 

This  passage,  also,  is  a  cudgel y  for  Freewill — 
such  as  nearly  all  the  Gospel  of  John  is — but 
adduced  in  support  of  it.  See,  I  pray  you,  John 
is  not  speaking  of  any  work  of  man's,  whether 
great  or  small ;  but  of  the  actual  renewal  and 
transmutation  of  the  old  man,  who  is  a  son  of 
the  devil,  into  the  new  man;  who  is  a  son  of  God. 
This  man  is  simply  passive  (as  they  speak),  and 
does  nothing,  but  is  altogether  a  thing  made.  For 
John  speaks  of  his  being  made  :  "  to  be  made  the 
sons  of  God,"  he  says;  by  a  power  freely  given  to 
us  of  God,  not  by  a  power  of  Freewill  which  is 
natural  to  us.z 

But  our  Diatribe  infers  from  hence,  that  Free 
will  is  of  such  power,  as  to  make  sons  of  God  ; 
prepared  else  to  determine,  that  this  saying  of 
John  is  ridiculous  and  unmeaning.  But  who  has 
ever  extolled  Freewill  to  such  a  height,  as  to 
give  it  the  power  of  making  sons  of  God;  espe 
cially  such  a  Freewill,  as  can  will  nothing  good ; 
the  one,  which  Diatribe  has  taken  up  to  prove.a 
But  let  this  pass  with  the  rest  of  those  conse 
quences,  so  o.teii  repeated;  by  which,  if  any  thing 
is  proved,  it  is  nothing  •  else,  but  what  Diatribe 
denies ;  namely,  that  Freewill  can  do  every  thing. 
What  John  means  is  this  :  that,  by  Christ's 
coming  into  the  world,  a  power  is  given  to  all 
men,  through  the  Gospel  (that  Gospel  by  which 
sprace  is  offered,  and  not  work  demanded),  which 

y  Malleus.']  More  properly,  '  a  mallet ;'  '  fabrile  instrumen- 
um  ad  tundendum.' 

z  Ft  insitd.~]  Ins.  properly,  'what  is  inserted  as  a  graft  ;'  but 
ransferred  to  signify  '  what  is  natural,  innate,  inherent.'  '  Na- 
ivus,  innatus,  ingenitus.' 

a  Assumsit.~\  Scil.  ad  probandum.  What  he  elsewhere  ex* 
resses  by  '  probandum  suscepit.' 


PART  in.  is  magnificent  in  the  extreme  ;  even  that  of 
becoming  the  sons  of  God,  if  they  be  willing  to 
believe  !  But  this  being  willing,  this  believing  in 
his  name,  as  it  is  a  thing  which  Freewill  never 
knew,  never  thought  of  before ;  so  is  it  a  thing, 
which  she  is  yet  much  further  from  being  able  to 
attain  to,  by  her  own  powers.  Forhowshoald 
reason  imagine  that  faith  in  Jesus,  the  son  of  God 
and  of  man,  is  necessary ;  when  she  does  not 
even  at  this  day  comprehend,  nor  can  believe, 
even  though  the  whole  creation  should  as  with  an 
audible  voice  proclaim  it,  that  there  exists  a 
person,  which  is  at  the  same  time  both  God  and 
man.  On  the  contrary,  she  is  the  more  offended 
by  such  preaching ;  as  Paul  testifies  in  1  Cor.  i. 
so  far  is  she,  from  being  either  willing  or  able  to 

John,  therefore,  proclaims  those  riches  of  the 
kingdom  of  God  which  are  offered  to  the  world 
by  the  Gospel,  not  the  virtues  of  Freewill :  inti 
mating  at  the  same  time,  how  few  there  are  that 
receive  them ;  because  Freewill,  forsooth,  resists 
the  proposal,  her  power  being  nothing  else, 
through  the  dominion  which  Satan  has  over  her, 
but  even  to  spurn  the  offer  of  grace,  and  of 

b  We  have  here  Luther's  usual,  exceptionable  expression 
about  (  offers.'  (See  Sect,  xxiii.  note  a) ;  and  his  mention  of 
the  person  of  Christ  suggests  over  again  the  importance  of  the 
distinction  which  I  remarked  in  Part  ii.  Sect.  viii.  note  r.  If  we  do 
not  keep  the  divine  and  the  human  person  of  Christ  distinct,  but 
regard  him  simply  as  a  person  who  has  put  another  nature,  the 
human  nature,  upon  his  former  and  eternal,  divine  nature  ;  his 
whole  history  and  the  things  said  of  him  are  a  Babel :  not  so; 
if  Ave  be  brought  to  apprehend  him  as  the  co-equal  of  th« 
Father  and  of  the  Holy  Ghost  acting  in  and  by  a  human  persoi 
which  he  has  taken  up  into  union  with  himself. — The  texi 
evidently  proves  nothing  for  Freewill :  it  only  says  "  as  man] 
as  received  him;"  without  saying  by  what  power;  Avhethe 
natural  or  supernatural.  I  do  not  agree  with  Luther,  in  it 
being  the  making  of  the  old  man  into  the  new  man  :  it  is  thi 
state  of  privilege  and  glory,  into  which  the  sen  of  Adam  ani 
child  of  the  devil  has  been  brought,  by  that  preceding  process  o 


that  Spiritc  which  would  fulfil  the  law.     So  ex-  SC.XLIII. 

quisite  is  the  force  of  her  desire  and  endeavour  to  

fulfil  the  law  ! — But,  hereafter,  I  shall  shew  more 
at  large,  what  a  thunderbolt  this  text  of  John's  is 
against  Freewill.  Meanwhile,  I  am  not  a  little 
indignant,  that  passages  so  clear  in  their  mean 
ing  and  so  powerful  in  their  opposition  to  Freewill, 
should  be  cited  by  Diatribe  in  her  favour  :  whose 
dulness  is  such,  that  she  discovers  no  difference 
between  law  words  and  words  of  promise;  for, 
having  first  of  all  established  Freewill,  most  ri 
diculously,  by  law  testimonies,  she  afterwards 
reaches  the  highest  height  of  absurdity/  by  con 
firming  it  with  words  of  promise.  This  absurdity, 
however,  is  easily  explained,  by  considering  with 
what  an  averse  and  contemptuous  mind  Diatribe 
engages  in  the  discussion.  To  her  it  is  no  matter, 
whether  grace  stand  or  fall;  whether  Freewill  be 
laid  prostrate  or  maintain  her  seat;  if  she  may  but 
prove  herself  the  humble  servant  of  a  conclave  of 
tyrants,  by  tittering  a  number  of  vain  words  to 
excite  disgust  against  our  cause. 

After  this  we  come   to    Paul   also,    the   most  Objections 
determined   enemy   to   Freewill,   who    is    never-  froin 
theless  compelled  to  establish  Freewill  by  what 
he    says    in   Rom.   ii.  "  Or    despisest    thou    the  ed- 
riches    of  his   goodness  and  patience  and  long- 
suffering  ?  or  knowest  thou  not  that  his  goodness 
leadeth   thee   to  repentance?"     How  can  it  be, 
that  contempt  of  the  commandment  is   imputed, 
where  the  will  is  not  free  ?     How  can  it  be,  that 
God  invites  to  repentance,  when  he  is  the  author 
of  impenitence  ?    How  can  it  be,  that  damnation 

c  See  note  *  upon  note  f,  Sect,  xxxvi. 

d  Ineptissimt  longe  absurdissime.']  Inept.  The  weaker  term  ; 
denoting  properly, '  unaptness/  impertinence/  'silliness  -.'  absurd. 
'  the  extreme  of  incongruity  and  extravagance.'  '  lueptus  est 
tantum  non  aptus ;  absurdus,  repugnans,  abhorrens :  itaque 
absurdus  majUs  quiddam.  significat ;'  velut  qui  surdis  auribus 
audiri  dignus  est. 


PART  in.  is  just,  when  the  judge  constrains  to  the  crime?6 
I  answer,  let  Diatribe  look  to    these  questions. 
What  are  they  to  me  ?     She  has  told  us,  in  her 
approvable    opinion,    that   Freewill   cannot   will 
good,  and  compels  us  necessarily  into  the  service 
of  sin.     How  is  it  then,  that  contempt  of  the  com 
mandment  is  imputed  to  her;  if  she  cannot  will 
good,  and  if  she  have  no  liberty,  but  be  under  a 
necessary  bondage  to  sin  ?     How  is  it,  that  God 
invites  to  repentance,  when  he  is  the  author  of 
man's  not  repenting ;  in  that  he  deserts,  or  does 
not  confer  grace  upon  him,  when,  being  left  alone, 
he  cannot  will  good?     How  is  it,  that  the  damna 
tion  is  just,  where  the  judge,  by  withdrawing  his 
help,  makes  it  unavoidable  that  the  ungodly  man 
be  left  to  do  wickedly  ;  since,  by  his  own  power, 
he  can  do  nothing  else  ? — All  these  sayings  recoil 
upon  the  head  of  Diatribe  :  or,  if  they  prove  any 
thing,  prove  (what  I  have  said)  that  Freewill  can 
do  every  thing  ;  in  contradiction  to  what  she  has 
said  herself,  and  every  body  else.     These  conse 
quences  of  reason  annoy  Diatribe,  throughout  all 
her   Scripture   quotations.     It  is  ridiculous   and 
unmeaning,  forsooth,  to  attack  and  exact/  in  such 
vehement  language,  when  there  is  not  one  present 
w  ho  can  fulfil  the  demand  ?     The  Apostle,  all  the 
while,  has  it  for  his  object  to  lead  ungodly  and 
proud  men  to  the  knowledge  of  themselves  and  of 
their  own  impotency,  by  the  means  of  these  threat- 
enings  ;  that,  having  humbled  them  by  the  know 
ledge  of  sin,  he  may  prepare  them  for  grace.5 

e  Referring,  no  doubt,  to  Rom.  iii.  5 — 8. 

f  Invadere  et  exigere.']  Inv.  expresses  the  assault  upon  the 
person:  'in  aliquem  locum  vaclo;'  ingredior  (et  fere  cum 
aliquavi,  aut  impetu),  aggredior,  irrunipo,  irruo.  Exig.  'extra 
ago  j'  educo.  Sa^pe  est  reposcere,  flagitare,  in  re  pecuniaria  : 
itemque,  exigendo  obtinere. — The  figure  is  that  of  a  bailiff 
seizing  a  man's  person  and  demanding  payment  of  a  debt. 

s  It  is  not  necessary  to  suppose  this  ulterior  design,  neither 
will  it  extend  to  all  the  cases  which  the  Apostle  had  in  view ; 
though  such  effect  is  frequently  produced  by  the  instrurnen- 


And  why  need  I  recount,  one  by  one,  all  the  SC.XLIV. 

texts  which  are  adduced  from  Paul's   writings ;   

when  she  does  but  collect  a  number  of  imperative  iVlckllfs 

r  confession 

or  conjunctive  verbs,  or  such  expressions  as  Paul  confessed, 
uses  in  exhorting  Christians  to  the  fruits  of  faith?h 
Diatribe  however,  by  adding  her  own  conse 
quences,  imagines'  to  herself  a  Freewill  of  such 
and  so  great  virtue,  that,  without  grace,  it  can 
do  every  thing  which  Paul  the  exliorter  pre 
scribes  ?  Christians,  however,  are  not  led  by 
Freewill,  but  by  the  Spirit  of  God.  (Rom.  viii.  14.) 
Now,  to  be  led  is  not  to  lead  ourselves,  but  to  be 
driven  along,  just  as  the  saw  or  the  hatchet k  is 
driven  along  by  the  carpenter.  And  here,  least 
any  one  should  doubt  Luther's  having  said  such 
absurd  things,  Diatribe  recites  his  words  :  which  I 
deliberately  own;  avowing,  as  I  do,1  that  WicklifPs 

tality  of  these  Scriptures.  Such  appeals  are  amongst  the  strong 
manifesters  of  what  is  in  man  ;  in  him  as  what  he  has  made 
himself,  not  as  what  God  made  him  ;  in  him,  therefore,  without 
excuse.  By  such  manifesters,  God,  as  his  pleasure  is,  both 
hardeneth  and  converteth.  In  chap.  ii.  it  is  an  exposure  of  the 
heart  of  the  Jew  as  boasting  himself  against  the  heathen  ;  in 
chap  iii.  it  is  the  infidel  disporting  himself  against  the  truth  : 
whose  damnation  is  shewn  to  be  just  by  the  language  which  he 
uses  ;  the  language  of  a  heart,  which  has  made  itself  vile. 

h  See  Sect,  xxxvi.  note  f  Gospel  precepts,  whether  from  the 
Lord's  mouth,  or  Paul's  pen,  are  words  to  the  Lord's  called 
only ;  shewing  how  the  saved  should  walk  :  that  we,  having  been 
delivered  out  of  the  hands  of  our  enemies,  might  serve  him 
without  fear,  in  holiness  and  righteousness  before  him,  all  the 
days  of  our  life.  (Luke  i.  74,  75.) 

'  Condpit.']  <  Translate  ponitur  pro  efformare.,  compre- 
hendere,  intelligere ;'  '  forms  an  idea.' 

k  I  cannot  think  Luther  very  happy  in  this  illustration  :  the 
hatchet  and  the  saw  have  no  choice  in  the  hand  of  the  carpenter  ; 
but  we  are  led  freely,  delightingly . 

1  QUCE  sane  agnosco.  Fateor  enim.~\  Qn.  sa.  ag.  expresses 
the  perfect  self-possession  and  consciousness  with  which  he 
acknowledges  the  words  as  his.  Sane.  '  Sana  mente  aut 
sensu,  ubi  nihil  fuci  aut  fraudis  est.'  But  it  is  not  honesty  and 
simplicity,  so  much  as  calmness,  sobriety  and  stedfastness  of 
judgment,  that  he  claims  for  himself,  in  the  recognition  and 
restatement  of  what  he  had  advanced.  Fateor  enim  implies 
avowal  made  under  circumstances  which  might  tempt  to  the 


PART  in.  article  ('  all  things  are  done  by  necessity ;'  that 

is,  by  the  unchangeable  will  of  God ;    i  and  our 

will,  though  not  compelled  indeed  to  do  evil,  is 
incapable  of  doing  any  good  by  its  own  power'1") 

suppression  of  it.  His  adversaries  were  the  persons  to  make 
confession  of  the  evil  at  Constance,  not  he .-  on  his  part,  it  was 
proclamation  of  accordant,  not  antagonistic,  sentiment ;  but 
still,  it  was  testimony  borne  in  adversity — borne,  as  with  a 
halter  round  his  neck. 

"  Mors  sola  fatetur 
"  Quantula  sint  liominum  corpuscula." — Jt'V.  x.  171,  2. 

Death  testifies  ;  but  it  is,  as  an  unwilling  and  compelled  witness  : 
she  would  rather  boast  of  her  prey,  than  proclaim  its  littleness. 
m  This  splendid  paradox  of  Wickliff  s  has  been  brought  into 
discussion  already  (see  Part  ii  Sect,  xxii.),  and  is  the  very  essence 
of  divine  truth,  though  so  offensive  to  the  enemies  of  truth,  and 
of  many  who  account  themselves  its  advocates.  Wickliff,  with 
all  his  blemishes,  was  a  truly  great  man ;  enlightened  to  see 
and  teach  much  of  the  mystery  of  God  ;  more,  I  am  ready  to 
say,  than  many  that  came  after  him  and  carried  off  his  palm. 
Most  of  these  acknowledged  his  worth  indeed  :  for  more  than 
a  century,  those  who  had  light  did  not  disdain  to  acknowledge 
that  they  walked  in  his  light ;  such  as  the  Lollards,  Huss, 
Jerome,  and  others.  Erasmus  gives  him  to  Luther ;  and 
Luther  is  not  ashamed  to  receive  and  confess  him.  Certainly, 
my  friend  the  Dean  has  not  done  him  justice ;  yet  he  tried, 
I  admit,  and  meant  to  do  it  him.  But  this  necessity,  was  what 
the  Dean  did  not  thoroughly  relish,  though  he  tolerated  it : 
and  so  he  apologized,  where  Wickliff  himself  would  have 
gloried ;  and  when  he  professes  to  give  a  brief  sketch  of  '  his 
doctrines  as  extracted  from  his  writings  and  other  authentic 
documents,'  whilst  he  admits  that  '  his  distinguishing  tenet  was, 
tindoubtedly,  the  election  of  grace,'  he  does  not  tell  us  what  he 
held  about  it,  nor  even  mention  this  paradox,  which  seems  to 
have  been  considered  as  the  centre  and  heart's  core  of  his 
creed. — The  Dean  appears  to  have  attached  too  much  import 
ance  to  Melancthon's  judgment,  who  was  so  warped  by  the  Sacra- 
mentarian  Controversy,  in  which  WicklifFs  name  was  drawn  out 
against  the  Lutherans,  that  he  went  to  a  great  extreme  in  deny 
ing  Wickliff  s  light ;  declaring  '  that  he  had  found  in  him,  also, 
many  other  errors'  (beside  this  on  the  sacrament),  'and  that 
he  neither  understood  nor  believed  the  righteousness  of  faith.' — 
I  admit  that  he  had  much  darkness  mingled  with  his  light ; 
confusion  with  his  clearness  ;  pusillanimity  with  his  boldness  ; 
sophistry  with  his  plainness  ;  rashness  with  his  honest  zeal  for 
reform.  But  I  am  rather  inclined  to  measure  a  man  by  what 
he  has  of  good,  than  by  what  he  has  also  of  evil ;  and  when  I 
see  Wickliff  acknowledged  as  the  first  open  champion  and 


was  falsely  condemned  by  the  Council  of  Con-  SC.XLIV. 

stance  ; n   or  rather  by  conspiracy  and  sedition.  — 

Nay,  even  Diatribe  herself  defends  him,  in  con 
junction  with  me ;  asserting,  as  she  does,  that 
Freewill  can  will  nothing  good  by  its  own  powers, 
and  serves  sin  necessarily ;  though,  in  the  course 
of  her  proof,  she  establishes  the  direct  contrary. 

declarer  against  the  abominations  of  Antichrist ;  when  I  read 
such  profound  and  luminous  testimonies  to  the  "  hidden  wis 
dom  "  in  his  writings  ;  when  I  hear  martyrs  calling  him  their 
apostle,  and  a  Cobham  '  solemnly  professing  before  God  and  man 
that  he  never  abstained  from  sin  till  he  knew  Wickliff — but  that 
after  he  became  acquainted  with  that  virtuous  man  and  his  de 
spised  doctrines  it  had  been  otherwise  with  him ; '  when  I  recollect, 
that  he  was  the  first  who  gave  the  Bible  to  our  nation  in  English, 
and  vindicated  the  right  of  the  common  people  to  read  it  5 
when  I  find  the  more  determined  of  the  reformers  of  the  six 
teenth  century  owning  him  as  their  forerunner,  and  their 
revilers  casting  him  in  their  teeth  :  I  am  ashamed  to  ask  what 
doctrine  he  held  about  tithes ;  to  doubt  his  sincerity,  because 
his  circumstances  drew  him  into  an  undesirable  degree  of  mix 
ture  with  carnal  statesmen ;  to  weigh  the  words  which  he 
dropped,  in  the  hour  of  the  power  of  darkness,  in  a  pair  of 
scales  j  and  to  '  rejoice  in  finding  evidence,'  as  the  result  of 
much  pious  search,  '  that  this  celebrated  champion  did  belong 
to  the  church  of  Christ.'  Huss  in  the  flames,  and  the  Swift 
receiving  his  unintombed  ashes,  shall  be  my  witnesses  that  he 
spake  by  the  Holy  Ghost. 

n  We  have  heard  of  the  Council  of  Constance  already  (see 
Part  ii.  Sect.  viii.  note  v);  it  was  numerous,  turbulent,  and  long  : 
it  put  down  three  Popes,  and  erected  one ;  raved  about  reform, 
and  confirmed  sword-preaching ;*  condemned  a  dead  saint,  and 
burnt  two  living  ones ;  denied  necessity,  made  a  Sigismurid 
blush,  and  did  one  good  thing  amidst  all  these  bad  ones,  by 
setting  Councils  above  Popes. 

*  Outrages  of  the  Teutonic  knights  in  Poland  and  Prussia  ;  where  they 
obtained  a  professed  subjection  to  the  Gospel  by  fire  and  sword ! 





Erasmus  has  but   two    Texts   to   kill. 

LET  what  has  been  said  suffice  in  answer  to 
Diatribe's  first  part,  in  which  she  endeavours  to 
establish  the  reality  of  Freewill ;  and  let  us  now 
consider  her  second  part,  in  which  she  seeks  to 
confute  the  testimonies  on  our  side  of  the  ques 
tion  :  those,  I  mean,  by  which  its  existence  is 
negatived.  You  will  see  here  what  a  man-raised 
smoke  is,  when  opposed  to  God's  thunders  and 
lightnings  ! 

First  then,  after  having  recited  innumerable 
texts  of  Scripture  in  support  of  Freewill,  as  a 
sort  of  army  too  dreadful  to  encounter  (that  she 
may  give  courage  to  the  confessors  and  martyrs, 
and  all  the  holy  men  and  women  who  stand  up 
for  Freewill ;  and  may  inspire  fear  and  trembling 
into  all  who  are  guilty  of  the  sin  of  denying  it) ; 
she  pretends  that  the  host  which  comes  to  oppose 
Freewill  is  contemptible  in  point  of  numbers,  and 
goes  on  to  represent  that  there  are  but  two  pas 
sages  which  stand  conspicuous  above  the  rest  on 
this  side  of  the  argument :  having  nothing  in  her 
mind,  as  it  should  seem,  but  slaughter,  and  making 
sure  of  accomplishing  it  without  much  trouble. 
One  of  these  is  from  Exod.  ix.  "  The  Lord  har 
dened  Pharaoh's  heart :"  the  other  is  from  Ma- 
lachi  i.  "  Jacob  have  I  loved,  but  Esau  have  I 


hated."  Strange,  what  an  odious  and  unprofitable   SECT.  n. 

discussion  Paul  did  take  up,  in  the  judgment  of 

Diatribe,  when  he  expounded  both  these  at  large 
to  the  Romans  !  In  short,  if  the  Holy  Ghost 
were  not  a  little  knowing  in  rhetoric,  there  would 
be  danger  lest  his  heart  should  melt  within  him, 
through  this  great  reach  of  art  in  pretending  such 
vast  contempt ;  and,  lest  absolutely  despairing  of 
his  cause,  he  should  yield  the  palm  to  Freewill, 
before  the  trumpet  has  called  the  champions  into 
the  lists.  Presently,  however,  I  shall  come  up 
as  the  reserve a  to  these  two  Scriptures,  and  shew 
my  forces  also  :  and  yet,  where  such  is  the  fortune 
of  the  battle,  that  one  man  puts  ten  thousand  to 
flight,  what  need  is  there  of  forces  ?  If  one  text 
of  Scripture  shall  have  conquered  Freewill,  her 
innumerable  forces  will  be  of  no  use  to  her. 

Here  therefore  Diatribe  has  discovered  a  new  Kills  by 
method  of  eluding  the  plainest  texts,  by  choosing  resolving 
to  understand  a  trope  in  the  simplest  and  clearest  tropesT 
forms  of  speech.  As,  in  the  former  instance,  when  which  he 
pleading  for  Freewill,  she  eluded"  the  force  of  all  Set's^ 
the  imperative    and   conjunctive    law   words    by  example, 
adding  inferences,  and  superadding  similies  of  her 
own  invention; c  so  now,  on  her  setting  out  to  plead 

a  Succenturiatus.']  '  Succenturiati  dicuntur,  qui  explendse  cen- 
tviria;  gratia  subjiciunt  se  ad  suppleiuentum  ordinnm.' — Luther 
would  consider  himself  as  '  the  leader  of  an  army  of  reserve  ;' 
though  such  army  would  be  unnecessary,  since  the  two  inva 
lidated  texts  would  keep  their  ground. — Pugnce  for  tuna.  Luther 
speaks  here,  '  more  Ethnicorum;'  who,  it  is  well  known, 
ascribed  every  thing  to  Fortune,  erecting  temples  and  altars  to 
her,  and  accounting  '  Fortunatus  '  ('  favoured  of  fortune  ')  the 
most  illustrioiis  title  they  could  ascribe  to  their  generals.  But 
Luther  well  knew  the  God  of  battles  ;  nor  meant  to  ascribe 
their  issue  to  any  other  than  Him  ;  "  even  the  Lord  strong 
and  mighty,  the  Lord  mighty  in  battle  !" 

b  Elusit.~\  It  was  evading  the  natural  and  legitimate  inter 
pretation  of  those  words,  when  she  practised  with  them  so  as  to 
pass  them  off  for  assertives. 

cddjectas.  fiffictas.']  Adj.  '  addere/  '  adjungcre  :'  afficl. '  sscpius 
estjingendo  addere,' 


PART  iv.  against  us,  she  turns  and  twists  all  words  of 
divine  promise  and  affirmation  just  which  way  she 
pleases,  by  discovering-  a  trope  in  them  :  that 
Proteus  may  be  alike  inapprehensible  on  both 
sides.d  Nay,  she  demands  this  for  herself  with 
great  superciliousness  at  our  hands  ;  because  we, 
as  she  pretends,  are  wont  also  ourselves  to  make 
our  escape  from  the  pursuer,  when  hard  pressed,6 
by  discovering  tropes.  In  that  passage,  for  in 
stance,  (  Stretch  out  thine  hand  to  whichsoever 
thou  wilt ;'  that  is,  l  grace  shall  stretch  out  thy 
hand  to  whichsoever  she  wills.'  '  Make  you  a 
new  heart ;'  that  is,  (  grace  shall  make  you  a  new 
heart:'  and  the  like/  It  seems  a  great  shame 
then,  if  Luther  may  have  leave  to  introduce  so 
violent  and  forced  an  interpretation  ;  but  we  may 
not  so  much  as  be  allowed  to  follow  the  interpreta 
tions  of  the  most  approved  doctors.  You  see 
then,  that  our  dispute  here  is  not  about  the  text, 
as  it  is  in  itself;8  nor,  as  in  former  instances, 
about  inferences  and  similies;  but  about  tropes 

A  UtrobiqueJ]  In  both  parts  of  the  discussion  :  the  former, 
where  Freewill  is  maintained ;  the  latter,  where  its  opponents 
are  repelled.  Incomprehensibilis.  '  Uncatchable  5'  if  there  were 
such  a  word  ! 

e  Ubi  urgemur,  elabi.~\  Elab.  The  primary  idea  is  that  of 
the  snake  slipping  out  of  the  hand,  or  water  gliding  secretly 
from  its  source ;  which  is  tranferred  to  '  silent  escape  from  a 
pursuing  enemy.'  Urgr.  is  the  state  of  one  driven  along  by  the 
goad  or  spear,  when  he  can  advance  no  further.  (See  Part  i. 
Sect.  ix.  note  d.)  '  In  this  state,  says  Erasmus,  they  cry  out 
"  trope,"  "  trope  ;"  as  a  sort  of  new  discovery  which  they  have 

f  Extende  manum.  Facile  vobis.']  See  above,  Part  iii.  Sect.  vi. — 
Ezek.  xviii.  31. 

s  2Vbra  de  textu  ipso.~]  Since  it  is  not  interpretation,  must 
refer  to  genuineness.  It  is  not,  as  the  question  was  about 
Eccleus.  xv.  where  the  authority  of  the  book  quoted  is  doubtful ;  • 
or  other  texts  which  might  be  named,  where  the  soundness  of 
some  particular  verse  or  word  might  be  disputed,  though  the 
book  were  authorized ;  but  whether  the  acknowledged  text  is 
to  be  understood  tropically,  and  whether  certain  proposed 
interpretations  be  admissible. 


and  interpretations.     '  O  when  shall   it    be,    as  SEC.  HI. 

some,  will    say,    that  we    get  a  plain   and   pure  

text,11  without  inferences  and  tropes,  for  and 
against  Freewill  ?  Has  Scripture  no  such  texts  ? 
And  shall  the  cause  of  Freewill  be  for  ever  an 
undecided  one  ?  one,  not  settled  by  any  sure 
text,  but  driven  like  a  reed  by  the  winds:  be 
cause  nothing  is  brought  forwards  in  debating  it, 
save  a  number  of  tropes  and  inferences,  the  produc 
tion  of  men  quarrelling  mutually  with  each  other  ?' 

Let  us  rather  judge,  that  neither  inference,  nor  Trope  and 
trope,  ought  to  be  admitted  into  any  passage  of  c™s*~e 
Scripture,  unless  an  evident  context,'  and  some  when  only 
absurdity,    which   offendeth   against   one    of  the  to-^d" 
articles  of  our  faith,  in  the  plain  meaning/  con 
strain  us  to  such  interpretation  and  inference :  on 
the  contrary,  that  wre  ought  every  where  to  stick 
close  to  that  simple,  pure  and  natural  sense  of 
words,  which  both  the  art  of  grammar,  and  the 
common  use  of  speech  as  God  created  it  in  man, 
direct  us  to.1     For,  if  any  man  may,  at  his  plea 
sure,  invent  inferences  and  tropes  for  Scripture; 
what  will  all  Scripture  be,  but  a  reed  shaken  by 
the  winds,  or  a  sort  of  Vertumnus?     Then  it  will 
indeed  be    true,    that    nothing   certain    can   be 
affirmed  or  proved,    as   touching  any   article   of 
faith ;  since  you  may  quibble  it  away  by  some  pre 
tended  trope."1  Rather,  let  every  trope  be  avoided, 

h  Simplicem,  purumque."]  Simp.  '  Free  from  figure.'  e  Pur. 
f  Free  from  human  additions.' 

1  Circumstantia  verborum  evidens. 

k  Absurditas  rei  manifesto:. 

1  Quarn  grammatical.  .  . .  habetJ]  Luther  had  no  doubt  whence 
the  use  of  speech  was  derived  to  man  (/te'/3o?re?  livQpwiroi} ;  how 
ever  some  heathen,  and  demi-heathen,  philosophers  may  have 
made  it  matter  of  speculation  :  even  from  him,  who  prompted 
its  exercise  when  he  brought  the  animals  unto  Adam  to  see 
what  he  would  call  them  (Gen.  ii.  19,  20) ;  and  who  afterwards 
came  down  to  confound  that  one  language  which  he  had  given. 
(Gen.  xi.  5 — 9.) 

111  Quod  non  queas  allquo  tropo  cavillari.']  You  have  but  to 
insinuate,  that  the  texts  brought  to  prove  it  are  figurative,  and 
do  not  mean  what  they  seem. 


PART  iv.  as  the  most  destructive  poison,  which  Scripture 

herself  does  not  compel  us  to  receive. 

See  what  has  befallen  that  great  trope-master 
Origen, n  in  expounding  the  Scriptures !'  What  just 
occasion  does  he  afford  to  the  calumniating  Por 
phyry  !°  insomuch,  that  even  Jerome15  thinks  it  of 

n  Origen  of  Alexandria,  the  great  father  of  mystical  and 
allegorical  interpretation,  suffered  martyrdom  in  the  69th  year 
of  his  age,  A.  D.  254. — There  was  much,  no  doubt,  to  condemn 
in  him,  but  something  also  to  commend.  Whilst  strangely 
defective  in  his  perceptions  of  divine  truth,  he  was  learned, 
upright,  disinterested,  and  laborious  :  a  man  of  conscience  and 
of  magnanimity.  Philosophy  and  literature  Avere  his  bane.  He 
did  much  mischief  to  the  church  by  his  style  of  interpreting 
Scripture,  not  only  in  rendering  human  fancies  for  a  season 
fashionable,  to  the  exclusion  of  plain  truth  j  but,  as  a  remote 
consequence,  by  bringing  even  the  sober  use  of  types  and 
figures — that  pregnant  source  of  lively  and  particularizing 
instruction — into  the  contempt  with  which  it  has  now  for  some 
ages  been  loaded. — Two  sentences  of  his  are  worthy  to  be  pre 
served.  On  the  words,  "  We  conclude  that  a  man  is  justified 
by  faith"  (Rom.  iii.)  he  says,  '  The  justification  of  faith  only, 
is  sufficient ;  so  that,  if  any  person  only  believe,  he  may  be 
justified,  though  no  good  work  hath  been  fulfilled  by  him.'  On 
the  case  of  the  penitent  thief,  he  writes,  '  He  was  justified  by 
faith,  without  the  works  of  the  law  5  because,  concerning 
these,  the  Lord  did  not  inquire  what  he  had  done  before  j 
neither  did  he  stay  to  ask  what  work  he  was  purposing  to  per 
form  after  he  had  believed; — but,  the  man  being  justified  by  his 
confession  only,  Jesus  who  was  going  to  Paradise,  took  him  as 
a  companion  and  carried  him  there.' — His  Hexapla  furnished 
the  first  specimen  of  a  Polyglot. 

0  Porphyry,  a  Platonic  philosopher,  who  lived  in  the  same 
century  with  Origen,  made  great  use  of  his  fanciful  interpreta 
tions,  in  reviling  Christianity.  From  the  serious  pains  taken  by 
the  ancient  Christians  to  confute  him,  it  may  be  presumed  that 
his  works  (which  are  now  chiefly  lost)  were  subtle  and  inge 
nious  ;  but  his  testimony,  like  that  of  most  other  infidels,  has 
been  made  to  redound  to  the  establishment,  instead  of  the 
subversion,  of  the  Gospel.  (See  Chap.  xxi.  Cent.  iii.  of  Milner's 
Ecc.  Hist,  where  a  remarkable  assemblage  of  testimonies  to 
this  conclusion  is  skilfully  adduced  :  and  see,  especially,  vol.  ii. 
of  Fry's  Second  Advent,  Avhere  Gibbon  is  made  the  same  sort 
of  unintentional  witness.) — Porphyry  censures  Origen  for 
'  leaving  Gentilism,  and  embracing  the  barbarian  temerity  :* 
whereas  Origen  was,  in  fact,  brought  up  under  Christian  j 
parents,  and  a  man  of  Christian  habits  from  his  youth.  He  i 
compliments  Origen  upon  his  skill  in  philosophy,  but  ridicules 


little  avail  to  defend  Origen.     What  has  come  to   SEC.  in. 
the  Arians,  through  that  trope  of  theirs,  by  which  - 
they   make   Christ    a    mere   nuncupative    God?11 
What  has  come  to  these  new  prophets  in  our  day, 
who,  in  expounding  Christ's  words,   '  This  is  my 
body/  find  a  trope,  one  of  them  in  the  pronoun 
'this;'  another  in  the  verb  'is;'  a  third  in  the 
noun  'body?'1"     It  is  the  result  of  my  observa- 

his  introduction  of  it  into  the  Scriptures  ;  which,,  as  this  enemy 
justly  teaches,  abhor  such  an  associate. 

p  Jerome,  the  renowned  monk  of  Stridon,  in  Pannonia, 
had  a  good  deal  of  the  spirit  of  Origen.  Luther  says, 
even  Jerome  :  a  man  of  prodigious  learning,  lively  eloquence, 
and  vigorous  mind,  but  of  small  discernment  in  the  truth; 
one  taught  of  man,  more  than  of  God.  He  was  born  under 
Constantine,  A.  D.  331,  the  contemporary  of  Augustine,  and  his 
opponent  ;  ever,  and  all  his  days,  a  controversialist  :  peevish 
and  vain  ;  self-righteous  and  superstitious  ;  but  sincere  and 
devout.  —  To  him  the  Romish  church  owes  her  Vulgate.  '  In 
his  very  volunnnous  expositions,  he  speaks  at  random  :  is  alle 
gorical  beyond  all  bounds,  and  almost  always  without  accuracy 
and  precision  ;  lowers  the  doctrine  of  illumination  in  1  Cor.  ii. 
to  things  moral  and  practical}  hints  at  something  like  a  first 
and  second  justification  before  God  ;  asserts  predestination,  and 
as  it  were  retracts  it  ;  owns  a  good  will  as  from  God  in  one 
place,  in  another  supposes  a  power  to  choose  to  be  the  whole  of 
divine  grace  ;  never  opposes  fundamental  truths  deliberately, 
but  though  he  owns  them  every  where,  always  does  so  defec 
tively,  and  often  inconsistently.  It  must  be  confessed,  the 
reputation  of  this  Father's  knowledge  and  abilities  has  been 
much  overrated.  There  is  a  splendour  in  a  profusion  of  ill- 
digested  learning,  coloured  by  a  lively  imagination,  which  is 
often  mistaken  for  sublimity  of  genius.  This  was  Jerome's 
case  ;  but  this  was  not  the  greatest  part  of  the  evil.  His 
learned  ignorance  availed,  more  than  any  other  cause,  to  give  a 
celebrity  to  superstition  in  the  Christian  world,  and  to  darken 
the  light  of  the  Gospel.  Yet,  when  he  was  unruffled  by  con 
tradiction,  and  engaged  in  meditations  unconnected  with  super 
stition,  he  could  speak  with  Christian  affection  concerning  the 
characters  and  offices  of  the  Son  of  God.'  (See  Miln.  Eccl. 
Hist,  vol  ii.  p.  481. 

i  Deum  nuncupativam."]     A  sort  of  titular  God  ;  one  called 

,  but  not  really  so.  —  See  above,  Part  ii.  Sect.  viii.  note  r. 

r  Luther,  as  we  all  know,  is  not  very  sound  here.  His  con- 
ubstantiation  of  the  sacramental  elements  avoids  a  trope  ;  but 
he  trope  here  falls  in  with  his  admitted  exception,  '  Scripture 
«  iierself  compels  us  to  receive  it.'  The  same  portion  of  matter 
«'  unnot  be  extended  in  two  places  at  the  same  moment.  The 



PART  IV.  tion,  that,  of  all  the  heresies  and  errors  which 

have  arisen  from  false  expositions  of  Scripture, 

none  have  proceeded  from  understanding  words 
in  that  simple  sense  in  which  they  are  bandied 
amongst  men  almost  all  the  world  over ;  but  from 
neglecting  their  simple  use,  and  affecting  tropes  or 
inferences   which   are  the   laboured  offspring   of 
their  own  brain. 

SECT.  IV.      For  example ;  I  do  not  remember,  that  I  have 

ever  applied  such  a  violent  sort  of  interpretation 

Luther  de-  to  the  words  '  Stretch  out  thine  hand  to   which- 
uledhtropf  soever  thou  wilt/  as  to  say,  <  Grace  shall  stretch 
in  his  in-     out    thine    hand    to   whichsoever    she    wills/ — 
Surf*"     '  Make  y°u  a  new  neart /  that  is,  '  Grace  shall 
"Stretch    make  you  a  new  heart/  and  the  like:  although 
out"  and    Diatribe  traduces  me,  in  a  published  treatise,  as 
you."  C      having  spoken  thus.     In  fact,  she  is  so  distracted 

and  beguiled8  by  her  tropes  and  inferences,  that 
she  does  not  know  what  she  says  about  any  body. 
What  I  have  really  said  is,  '  when  the  words 
"  stretch  forth  thy  hand,  Sec.  &c."  are  taken 
simply  according  to  their  real  import,  exclusive  of 

bread  therefore,  which  the  Lord  held  in  his  hand  whilst  insti 
tuting  the  ordinance,  could  not  at  the  same  instant  be  bread 
and  hand  ;  or  bread  and  body.  The  same  is  true  of  the  cup  : 
it  must  have  been  a  distinct  substance  from  the  hand  which 
held  it ;  and  therefore  could  not  be  really  the  Lord's  blood  ; 
which  could  indeed  only  be  drunk  as  poured  out,  and  at  the 
instant  when  He  spake,  was  yet  in  his  veins. — Add  to  this,  the 
simple  but  decisive  illustration  which  was  suggested  tq 
Zuingle's  mind  in  a  dream,  and  which  was  so  greatly  blessed  iiw 
the  use  he  was  afterwards  led  to  make  of  it.  '  You  stupid  man, 
why  do  not  you  answer  him  from  the  twelfth  of  Exodus,  as  it  is 
there  written,  "  It  is  the  Lord's  passover."  ' — Luther  calls  the 
Sacramentists  promiscuously  '  the  new  prophets :'  not  very] 
ingenuously  5  for  even  Carolstadt  disclaimed  all  connection  with) 
the  Celestial  Prophets,  as  they  were  called — whilst  Zuingle  ana 
(Ecolampadius,  in  whom  the  sinews  of  the  contest  were,  afforded 
no  pretence  for  such  imputation. — Miln.  Eccles.  Hist.  vol.  iv. 
chaps,  vi.  ix.  pp.  772 — 810,  990,  &c.  1127.  8. 

8  Distenta  et  illusa.']  Dist.  '  Distractus,  duplici  cura  occu- 
patus  ;  cui  duo  sirnul  res,  diversis  partibus,  curam  injiciuBt. 
Rectiusa.  '  distineo/  quam  f  distendo/  ducitur. 


opes  and  inferences,  they  express  no  more  than  SECT.IV. 
demand  that  we  stretch  out  our  hand :  by  which 
miand,  is  intimated  to  us  what  we  ought  to  do; 
;cording  to  the  nature  of  the  imperative  verb,  as 
^plained  by  grammarians,  and  applied  in  common 

Diatribe,  however,  neglecting  this  simple  use  of 
.e  verb  and  dragging  in  her  tropes  and  infer- 
ices  by  force,  interprets  thus :  "  Stretch  out 
ine  hand;"  that  is,  'thou  canst  stretch  out  thine 
md  by  thine  own  power :'  "  Make  you  a  new 
>art  ;"  that  is,  c  ye  can  make  you  a  new  heart.' 
Believe  in  Christ;"  that  is,  '  ye  can  believe/ 
hus,  it  is  in  her  account  the  same  thing  whether 
ords  be  spoken  imperatively,  or  indicatively ;  if 
)t,  she  is  prepared  to  represent  Scripture  as 
liculous  and  vain.  Yet  these  interpretations, 
lich  no  scholar1  can  bear,  may  not  be  called 
olent  and  far-fetched/  when  used  by  theologians ; 
it  are  to  be  welcomed,  as  those  of  the  most 

proved   doctors  who    have  been   received  for 

es  !¥ 

But  it  is  very  easy  for  Diatribe  to  allow  of 
:>pes  and  to  adopt  them  in  this  text :  it  is  no 

itter  to  her,  whether  what  is  said  be  certain  or 
i certain.  Nay,  her  very  object  is  to  make  every 
;ng  uncertain;  counselling  as  she  does,  that  all 

1  Nulll  grcimmaticoforcndfis.']  Gram.  '  ad  grammatical!!  per- 
i:ns  :'  but  this  term,  it  seems,  was  especially  applied  to  those 
I1,)  interpreted  classical  writers  ;  sucli  as  Donatus,  Festus, 
linius,  Asconius  and  others ;  not  to  teachers  of  grammar : 
Oaring  from  grammatista,  which  is  sometimes  used  invi- 


,  Ajf'ectatas  ]  So,  in  the  last  section,  '  affectatis  proprio 
«;;bro  tropis  :'  '  nimio,  aut  pravo,  uffactu  et  studio  cupitus, 
ly-situs.'  '  De  re  majore  studio  et  cura  conquisit&  et  elabo- 
Our  Eng-lish  term  'affected,'  opposed  to  'natural,' 
ies  the  same  thing  :  what  is  factitious,  and  the  result  ot 
£  :t.  It  is  not  '  the  design,  wherewith,'  that  is  marked  in 

e  two  passages,  but  '  the  labour  and  search  employed.' 
Has. .  . .  probatissimorum  sunt  doctorum.]     The  sentence  is 



PART  iv.  dogmas  on  Freewill  should  be  left  to  themselve 

rather  than   investigated.     It   would  have  bee 

enough  for  her,  therefore,  to  get  rid  of  sayings  li 
which  she  feels  herself  to  be  hard  pressed,  in  ar 
wray  she  can.x  But  I — who  am  in  earnest  and  n«i 
in  sport,  and  who  am  in  search  of  most  indub 
table  truth,  for  the  establishing  of  the  conscience 
of  men — must  act  very  differently.  For  me,  I  sa 
it  is  not  enough  that  you  tell  me,  there  may  be\ 
trope  here.  The  question  is,  whether  there  oiic/i 
to  be,  and  must  be  a  trope  here.  If  you  have  n> 
shewn  me,  that  there  must  necessarily  be  a  trojf 
here;  you  have  done  nothing.  Here  stands  tlj 
\vord  of  God,  "  I  will  harden  Pharaoh's  heart! 
If  you  tell  me,  it  must  be  understood,  or  may  \ 
understood,  (  I  will  permit  it  to  be  hardened ;' 
hear  what  you  say,  that  it  maybe  so  understood, 
hear  that  this  trope  is  commonly  used  in  popul1 
discourse;  just  as,  fl  have  ruined  you;  becaur 
I  did  not  instantly  correct  you,  when  you  we,' 
going  astray.'  But  this  is  not  the  place  for  sut 
sort  of  proof.  It  is  not  the  question,  whether  su« 
a  trope  be  in  use.  It  is  not  the  question,  whethf 
a  person  might  use  it  in  this  passage  of  Pauf 
writings.  The  question  is,  whether  it  would 
safe  for  him  to  use  it,  and  certain  that  he  used: 
rightly,  in  this  place  ;  and  whether  Paul  meant  ] 
use  it.  We  are  not  inquiring  about  anoth' 
man's — the  reader's  use  of  it — but  about  Paul, 
the  author's  own  use  of  it. 

What  would  you  do  with  a  conscience 
should  question  you  in  this  way  ?  '  Lo,  God  t 
author  of  the  book  says,  "  I  will  harden  Pharaot- 
heart."  The  meaning  of  the  word  'harden*' 
obvious  and  notorious.  But  a  human  reader  te; 
me,  ( to  harden,  in  this  place,  is  to  give  occasi1 
of  hardening,  inasmuch  as  the  sinner  is  n 

x  Utcunque   amoliri   dicta.]     Arnol.   dicr.   prop,  de   iis  <• 
magno  conatu  et  molimine  dimoventur. 


istantly  corrected/     With  what  authority,  with  SECT.  v. 

hat  design,  with  what  necessity,  is  that  natural   

eaning  of  the  word  so  tortured  for  me  ?  What 
my  interpreting  reader  be  mistaken?  Where 
it  proved,  that  this  torturing  of  the  word  ought 

>  take  place  here  ?     It  is  dangerous,  it  is  even 
upious,   to    torture   the   word   of  God   without 
jcessity,  and  without  authority.     Will  you  next 
[tor  this  labouring  little  soul/  '  Ori^en  thought 

o  •*  o  o 

•  ?'     Or  thus  ;   (  cease  to  pry  into  such  matters, 

;eing  they  are  curious  and  vain/    She  will  reply, 

Vfoses  and  Paul  ought  to  have  had  this  admoni- 

[)n  given  to  them,  before  they  wrote ;  or  rather, 

od  himself.     To  what  end  do  they  distract  us 

ith  curious  and  vain  sayings  ?' 

This  wretched  evasion  of  tropes,  then,  is  of  no  Diatribe 

rvice   to    Diatribe;  but   we   must  keep   strong-  must  , 

^  "      Dl'OVC     DV 

>ld  of  our  Proteus  here,  till  he  make  us  perfectly  Scripture 
re  that  there  is  a  trope  in  this  identical  passage.  or  miiaclc» 

.,  ,  0      •     ,  fj  that  the 

ther  by  the   clearest   scripture  proofs,    or    by  very  pas. 

ident  miracles.     We  do  not  give  the  least  be-  sage  in 

fto  her  mere  thinking  so,  though  it  be  backed 

the  toil  and  sweat  of  all  ages.2     But  I  go  fur- 

er,    and  insist  that  there  can  be  no  trope  here, 

t  that  this  saying  of  God  must  be  understood 

its  simplicity,  according  to  the  literal  meaning 

the  words.     For  it  is  not  left  to  our  own  will 

!  make,  and  re-make,  words  for  God  as  we  please : 

e  what  would  be  left  in  all  Scripture,  which 

A)ilmu1(E.~]  We  are  reminded  of  the  Emperor  Adrian's 
jiimula  vagula  blnndula.'  Anim.  vel  dontemptus,  vel  blanditiaj 
i!sa.  Here,  it  implies  'tenderness:'  a  weakling  soul,  ten- 
'j;y  felt  for,  by  the  Lord  and  by  his  messengers. 

Industrid  conscntienteJ]      Indttst.    '  Vis  ingenii  qua  (mippium 

>  igitamus,  et  adipiscimur.   Itaque  su]>ra  naturam  et  ingenium 

<  it  studium,  et  artem,  et  laborem.'     He  refers  to  the  '  affec- 
ft,i  tropis '  and  '  afFectatas  interpretationes,'  which  he  repre- 

<  led  in  the  last  section.     There  was  much  of  scholastic  art 
n  cloistered  industry  in  them  ;  but  he  must  have  light  from 

<  -en — the  Holy  Ghost's  testimony  either  in  the  word,  or  in 
h  e  palpable,  new-wrought  miracle — before  he  would  be  satis- 
leithat  there  is  a  trope  in  these  words. 


PART  iv.  does  not  just  come  back  to  Anaxagoras's  phil- 

;sophy,a  '  Make   what   you  please  of  any  thiiu' 

Suppose  I  should  say,  "  God  created  the  heaveij 
and  the  earth  ;"  that  is.,  '  he  set  them  in  order ;  bj 
he  did  not  make  them  out  of  nothing/     Or,   '  Tr\ 
created  the  heavens  and  the  earth;'  that  is,  tl 
angels  and  the  devils,  or  the  righteous  and  tl 
wicked.     Upon  this  principle,  a  man  has  but 
open  the  book  of  God,  and  by  and  by  he  is 
theologian. b     Let  it  be  a  settled  and  fixed  pri 
ciple  then,  that,  when  Diatribe  cannot  prove  th 
there  is  a  trope  in  these  passages  of  ours  whi< 
she   is   refuting,0  she  be  obliged  to   concede 
us,  that  the  words  must  be  understood  accordii 
to  their  literal  import;  even  though  she  shou 
prove  that  the  same  trope  is  of  most  frequent  u 
elsewhere,  both  in  all  parts  of  Scripture  and 
common  discourse.     If  this  principle  be  atlmitte 
all  our  testimonies  which  Diatribe  meant  to  co 
fute,  have  been  defended  at  once ;  and  her  co 
futation  is  found  to  have  effected  absolutely  n 
thing,  to  have  no  power,  to  be  a  mere  nothing. 
When   she    interprets   that   saying  of  Most 
therefore,  "  I  will  harden   Pharaoh's  heart,"  ( 
mean  '  My  lenity  in  bearing  with  a  sinner,  lead 
others,  it  is  true,  to  repentance,  but  it  shall  rend« 
Pharaoh  more  obstinate  in  his  wickedness;'  th: 
is  a  pretty  saying,  but  there  is  no  proof  that 

a  Anaxagoras,  a  philosopher  of  Clazomenae,  the  preceptor  t| 
Socrates,  amongst  many  other  paradoxes,  is  said  to  have  insiste 
that  '  snow  was  black,  because  made  of  water.' 

b  Quis  non.  .  .  .  Theologus.~\  If  a  man's  own  whimsies,  withoi 
search  or  proof,  are  to  be  protruded  as  doctrines  and  interpret? 
tions  of  Scripture ;  we  have  but  to  open  the  book  and  consult  ot 
fancy,  and  straightway  we  may  dub  ourselves  divines. 

c  Quos  diluitJ]  Dil.  properly  '  lavando  aufero,'  as  the  wate 
washes  the  sides  of  the  canal,  or  the  heavy  rain  washes  away  th 
labours  of  the  husbandman  :  hence  transferred  to  the  remove 
of  filth  from  any  substance  ;  and  particularly,  in  a  forensi 
sense,  to  the  purging  of  a  charge.  '  Diluere  crimen  est  purgare 
refellere,  criminibus  respondendo  et  accusationes  refutando 
'  Si  nollem  ita  diluere  crimen,,  ut  dilui.' — Cic.  pro  Milon. 


ought  to  speak  so ;  and  we,  not  content  with  a  SECT.  v. 
mere  l  ipse  dixit,'  demand  proof.  " 

So  she  interprets  that  saying1  of  Paul's  plau 
sibly  ;  "  He  hath  mercy  on  whom  he  will  have 
mercy,  and  whom  he  will  he  hardeneth  ;"  that  is, 
e  God  hardeneth,  when  he  doth  not  instantly  chas 
tise  the  sinner ;  he  hath  mercy,  when  he  presently 
inviteth  to  repentance,  by  afflictions.'  But  what 
proof  is  there  of  this  interpretation? 

So  that  of  Isaiah,  "  Thou  hast  made  us  to  err 
from  thy  ways,  thou  hast  hardened  our  heart  from 
thy  fear."d  What  if  Jerome,  following  Origen, 
interpret  thus;  (  The  man  is  said  to  seduce  who 
does  not  straightway  call  back  from  error.'  Who 
shall  assure  us  that  Jerome  and  Origen  interpret 
this  passage  rightly  ?  And  what  if  they  do  ?  It 
is  our  compact,  that  we  will  contest  the  matter 
not  on  the  ground  of  any  human  teacher's  autho 
rity,  but  on  that  of  Scripture  only.  Who  are 
these  Origens  and  Jeromes  then,  which  Diatribe, 
forgetting  her  solemn  covenant,  throws  in  my 
teeth?  when  as,  of  the  ecclesiastical  writers,  there 
be  none  almost,  who  have  handled  the  Scriptures 
more  foolishly .  and  more  absurdly,  than  Origen 
and  Jerome. 

In  a  word,  such  a  licentiousness  of  interpreta 
tion  comes  to  this ;  by  a  new  and  unheard  of  sort 
of  grammar  all  distinctions  are  confounded:  so  that, 
when  God  says,  "  I  will  harden  Pharaoh's  heart," 
you  change  persons  and  understand  him  to  say, 
'  Pharaoh  hardens  himself  through  my  lenity/ 
(  God  hardens  our  heart;'  that  is,  we  harden  our 
own  hearts,  through  God's  deferring  to  punish 
us.  <e  Thou,  O  Lord,  hast  made  us  to  err;"  that 
is,  we  have  made  ourselves  to  err,  through  thy 
not  chastising  us.  So,  '  God's  having  mercy,* 
no  longer  signifies  '  his  giving  grace,'  or  6  exer- 

d  Isaiah  Ixiii.  17.  Our  authorized  version  reads  it  as  a  ques 
tion,  "  O  Lord,  why  hast-thou  made  us  to  err,  &c." 


PART  iv.  cising  compassion/  '  forgiving  sin/  (  justifying/ 
or  (  delivering  from  evil  /  but,  on  the  contrary, 
'•his  inflicting  evil  and  punishing.' 

You  will  at  last  make  it  out  by  these  tropes, 
that  God  had  pity  on  the  children  of  Israel,  when 
he  carried  them  away  into  Assyria  and  to  Ba 
bylon  :  for  there  it  was  that  he  chastised  his 
offenders,  there  it  was  that  he  invited  them  to  re 
pentance  by  afflictions.  On  the  other  hand,  when 
he  brought  them  back  and  gave  them  deliverance, 
he  did  not  pity  but  harden  them  ;  that  is,  by  his 
lenity  and  pity,  he  gave  occasion  to  their  being 
hardened.  Thus,  the  sending  of  Christ  the  Sa 
viour  into  the  world,  shall  not  be  called  an  act  of 
mercy  in  God,  but  an  act  of  hardening;  since  by 
this  mercy  he  hath  given  men  occasion  to  harden 
themselves.  On  the  other  hand,  in  having  laid 
Jerusalem  waste,  and  destroyed6  the  Jews  unto 
this  very  day,  he  shows  mercy  towards  them  ; 
inasmuch  as  he  chastises  them  for  their  sin,  and 
invites  them  to  repentance.  In  carrying  his  saints 
to  heaven  at  the  day  of  .judgment,  he  will  not 
perform  an  act  of  mercy  but  of  induration  :  inas 
much  as  he  will  give  them  an  opportunity  of 
abusing  his  goodness.  In  thrusting  the  wicked 
into  hell  ;  herein,  he  will  shew  mercy,  because  it 
will  be  chastising  the  sinner.  Who  ever  heard, 
pray,  of  such  compassions  and  such  wraths  of  God 
as  these  ? 

What,  if  good  men  are  made  better  by  the  for- 

'  Perdidit.~\  f  A7ro\\vu),  awo/JaXXw,  destruo,  everto,  depcrdo, 
Si  vocem  spectes,  est  a  per  et  do  ;  si  notionem,  a  Tre.pOw,  vasto, 
esse  videtur.'  There  is  a  miraculous  peculiarity  in  Israel's  case, 
as  a  nation  :  perishing,  he  does  not  perish  ;  destroyed,  he  still  is 
preserved.  I  had  therefore  hesitated  to  render  perd.  according  to 
its  natural  and  proper  meaning  ;  and  was  disposed  to  adopt  '  give 
up,'  '  abandon/  '  cast  off,'  or  '  scatter  ;'  which  would  not,  it 
seems,  have  been  incongruous  with  its  essential  meaning.  But 
why  should  Luther  have  used  this  term  in  preference  to  the 
others  ;  and  has  not  their  dispersion  been  in  fact  their  destruc 
tion,  as  a  state,  city,  and  nation  9 


bearance,  as  well  as  by  the  severity  of  God  ;  still,  SECT.  v. 
when  we  speak  of  good  and  bad  men  promis 
cuously,  these  tropes  will  make  the  mercy  of  God 
wrath,  and  his  wrath  mercy,  by  a  most  perverse 
use  of  speech  :  since  they  call  it  wrath,  when  God 
is  conferring  benefits ;  and  pity,  when  he  is  in 
flicting  judgments.  Now,  if  God  shall  be  said 
to  harden,  when  he  is  conferring  benefits  and 
bearing  with  evil;f  and  shall  be  said  to  have 
mercy,  when  he  is  afflicting  and  chastising;  why 
is  he  said  to  have  hardened  Pharaoh  rather  than 
the  children  of  Israel,  or  even  the  whole  world? 
Did  he  not  confer  benefits  upon  the  children  of 
Israel  ?  does  he  not  confer  benefits  upon  the 
whole  world  ?  does  he  not  bear  with  the  wicked? 
does  he  not  send  his  rain  upon  the  evil  and  upon 
the  good? — Why  is  he  said  to  have  had  com 
passion  on  the  children  of  Israel,  rather  than  upon 
Pharaoh  ?  Did  he  not  afflict  the  children  of 
Israel,  in  Egypt  and  in  the  desert?8  I  grant  that 
some  abuse,  and  others  rightly  use,  God's  wrath 
and  goodness.  But  you  define  hardening  to  be 
'  God's  indulging  the  wicked  with  forbearance 
and  kindness;'  *  God's  having  compassion  to  be* 
that  he  does  not  indulge,  but  visits  and  cuts 
short.  So  far  as  God  is  concerned  therefore,  he 
does  but  harden  by  perpetual  kindness ;  he  does 
but  shew  mercy  by  perpetual  severity.11 

1  Benefadt.  tolerat.~\  Benef.  "  heapeth  his  benefits ;"  tol. 
"  endureth  with  much  long-suffering." 

s  If  God  hardens  by  conferring  benefits,  why  is  he  said  to 
have  hardened  Pharaoh  rather  than  the  children  of  Israel  ?  If 
God  shews  mercy  by  afflicting,  why  is  he  said  to  have  had 
mercy  on  Israel  in  afflicting  him,  and  not  on  Pharaoh  ? 

h  Luther  admits  that  there  is  a  different  effect  produced  in 
different  characters  ;  '  the  good  profit  by  both  good  and  evil ; ' 
'  some  use,  and  others  abuse,  both  kindness  and  wrath.'  But 
the  question  here  is,  what  character  shall  we  assign  to  God  s 
dispensations  of  judgment  and  of  mercy  as  falling  generally 
upon  men  ;  xipon  good  and  evil  intermixed  :  cum  simul  de  bonis 
et  mails  loquimur  ?  The  result  will  be,  God's  mercy  is  anger; 
and  his  anger,  mercy. — The  truth  is,  God  does  harden  by 


PART  iv.      But  this  is  the  best  of  all,  that,  '  God  is  said 

to  harden,    when  he  indulges  sinners  with  for- 

SECT.  vi.  bearance .  anc[  to  pity,  when  he  visits  and  afflicts, 
T  inviting  to  repentance  bv  severity.'     What  did 

Erasmus'  »  .  J  J 

trope  trod  oinit,  pray,  in  the  way  of  afflicting,  cnas- 
makes  tishig,  calling  Pharaoh  to  repentance?  Do  we 
of  Moses,  n°t  number  ten  plagues,  as  inflicted  in  that  land? 
and  leaves  If  your  definition  stands  good ;  that,  f  to  have 
tied.  ^  niercy  is  straightway  to  chastise  and  call  the 
sinner ; '  assuredly,  God  had  mercy  upon  Pharaoh. 
Why  then  does  not  God  say,  I  will  have  mercy 
upon  Pharaoh,  instead  of  saying  I  will  harden 
Pharaoh's  heart?  For,  when  he  is  in  the  very 
act  of  pitying  him ;  that  is,  as  you  will  have  it, 
of  afflicting  and  chastising  him ;  he  says,  '  I  will 
harden  him ; '  that  is,  as  you  will  have  it,  (  I  will 
do  him  good,  and  will  bear  with  him  : '  what  can 
be  more  monstrous  to  hear,  than  this  ?  What  has 
now  become  of  your  tropes,  your  Origen,  your 
Jerome,  and  your  most  approved  doctors ;  whom 
the  solitary  individual,  Luther,  is  rash  enough  to 
contradict?  But  it  is  the  foolishness  of  the  flesh 
which  compels  you  to  speak  thus  ;  sporting  as 
she  does  with  the  words  of  God,  which  she  cannot 
believe  to  have  been  spoken  in  earnest. 

The  text  itself  therefore,  as  written  by  Moses, 
proves  incontrovertibly,  that  these  tropes  are 
mere  inventions,  and  of  no  worth  in  this  place  ; 
and  that  something  very  different  and  far  greater — 
over  and  above  the  bestowal  of  benefits,  together 
with  affliction  and  correction — is  meant  by  the 
words,  "I  will  harden  Pharaoh's  heart:"  since 
we  cannot  deny  that  both  these  expedients  were 
tried  in  Pharaoh's  case,  with  the  greatest  care 

mercies  as  Veil  as  judgments  ;  and  does  soften  by  judgments, 
as  well  as  mercies  :  but  both  the  hardening  and  the  softening 
are  distinct  from  the  dispensations  which  arc  made  the  instru 
ment  of  producing  them.  It  is  a  variety  in  the  spirit  which 
meets  with  them,  and  upon  which  they  act,  which  causes 
variety J.n  the  result. 


and  pains.     For  what  wrath  and  correction  could  SEC.  vil. 

be  more  urgent,  than  that  which  he  was  called  to  ' 

endure,  whilst  stricken  with  so  many  signs  and 
plagues,  that  even  Moses  himself  testifies  the 
like  were  never  seen!  Nay,  even  Pharaoh  him 
self  was  moved  by  them  more  than  once,  as  though 
he  repented :  albeit,  not  moved  to  purpose,'  nor 
abidingly.  At  the  same  time,  what  forbearance 
and  kindness  could  be  more  abundant,  than  that 
which  so  readily  took  away  his  plagues,  so  often 
forgave  his  sin,k  so  often  restored  his  blessings,  so 
often  removed  his  calamities  ?  Each  sort  of  dis 
pensation,  however,  is  unavailing ;  the  Lord  still 
says,  '  I  will  harden  Pharaoh's  heart/  You  see 
then,  that  even  though  your  hardening  and  your 
mercy  (that  is>  your  glosses  and  tropes)  should 
be  admitted  in  their  highest  degree,  use,  and 
exemplification — such  as  they  are  exhibited 
to  us  in  Pharaoh — there  still  remains  an  act  of 
hardening;  and  the  hardening  of  which  Moses 
speaks  must  be  of  one  sort,  and  what  you  are 
dreaming  of,  another. 

But  since  I  am  fighting  with  men  of  fiction  Necessity 
and  with  ghosts,  let  me  also  be  allowed  to  con-  sti1.1  re- 

i  .     .  i  •  i      ,  mams,  and 

jure    up    my   ghost   and    imagine,    what   is    im-  youdonot 
possible,  that  the  trope  which  Diatribe  sees  in  dear  God. 
her  dream  is  really  used  in  this  passage  ;   that 
I  may  see  how  she  evades  the  being  compelled 
to  affirm,  that  we  do  every  thing  by  God's  alone 
will,    and  by  a  necessity  that  is  laid  upon  us ; 
as  also,  how  she  will  excuse  God  from  being  him 
self  the  author1  and  blameworthy  cause  of  our 
induration.     If  it  be  true,    that  God  is  said  to 

'  Permovetur.'] — '  Valde  movetur  : '  what  goes  through  the 
substance,  and  disturbs  it  throughout ;  not  merely  stirs  the 
surface  and  margin. 

k  Remittit  peccatum.~]  So  far  as  withdrawing  present  judg 
ment  may  be  taken  as  a  sign  of  forgiveness  :  but  was  his  sin 
blotted  out  ?  any  one  of  the  sins  which  had  instrumeatally 
provoked  the  visitation  ? 

1  Autor  et  culpa. 


PART  iv.  harden  us,  when  he  bears  with  us  through  an  ex- 
"  ercise  of  his  lenity,,  and  does  not  forthwith  punish 
us ;  each  of  the  two  following  principles  still 
remains.  First,  man  does  nevertheless  necessa- 
sarily  serve  sin.  For,  when  it  has  been  granted 
that  Freewill  can  not  will  any  thing  good  (and 
such  a  sort  of  Freewill  is  what  Diatribe  has  under 
taken  to  prove),  it  is  made  no  better  by  the  for 
bearance  of  a  long-suffering  God,  but  is  necessarily 
made  wrorse ;  unless  through  the  mercy  of  God, 
the  Spirit  be  added  to  it.  So  that  all  things  still 
happen  by  necessity;  as  it  respects  us. 

Secondly,  God  seems  to  be  as  cruel  in  bearing 
with  men  out  of  lenity,  as  he  is  thought  to  be 
through  our  representation ;  who  say,  that  he 
hardens  in  the  exercise  of  that  inscrutable  will  of 
his.1"  For,  since  he  sees  that  Freewill  can  will 
nothing  good,  and  is  made  worse  by  his  lenity  in 
bearing  with  us,  this  very  lenity  exhibits  him  in 
the  most  cruel  form,  as  one  that  is  delighted  with 
our  calamities :  seeing  he  could  heal  them,  if  he 
would;  and  could  avoid  bearing  with  us  if  he 
would;  or  rather,  could  not  bear  with  us,  except  it 
were  his  will  to  do  so  :  for  who  could  compel  him 
to  do  so,  against  his  will  ?  If  that  will  therefore 
remains,  without  which  nothing  happens  in  the 
world;  and  it  be  granted,  that  Freewill  can 
will  nothing  good;  all  that  is  said  to  excuse 
God,  and  to  accuse  Freewill,  is  said  to  no  pur 
pose.  For  Freewill  is  always  saying,  c  I  cannot, 
and  God  will  not :  what  can  I  do  ?  Let  him  shew 
me  mercy,  forsooth,  by  afflicting  me ;  I  am  never 
the  forwarder  for  it,  but  must  be  made  worse ; 
except  he  give  me  the  Spirit.  This  he  does  not 
give ;  which  he  would  give,  if  it  were  his  will  to 
do  so :  it  is  certain  therefore,  that  he  wills  not 
to  give  it.'n 

m   Volcndo  voluntate  illd  imperscrutabili.']     See  above,  Part  iii. 
Sect,  xxviii.  notes  l  v  x. 

n  Luther's  drift  is,  '  There  must  be  a  will  of  God  distinct 


Nor  are  the  similes,  which  she  adduces,  at  all  SEC.VIII. 
to  the  purpose,  when  she  says,  'As  mud  is  hard- 
ened  by  the  self-same  sun  which  melts  wax  ;  and, 
as  the  cultivated  ground  produces  fruit  by  means  sun  and 
of  the  self-same  shower  from  which  the  untilled  !'am  *e' 
sends  forth  thorns ;    even   so,    by  the  self-same 
forbearance   of    God,     some   are   hardened   and 
others  converted/ 

We  do  not  divide  Freewill  into  two  different 
sorts,  making  one  to  be  mud  and  the  other  wax  ; 
or  one  to  be  cultivated  ground,  and  the  other 
neglected  ground :  but  we  speak  of  one  sort  of 
Freewill,  which  is  equally  impotent  in  all  men ; 
which  is  nothing  else  but  the  mud,  nothing  else  but 
the  untilled  ground,  in  these  comparisons — seeing 
it  is  what  cannot  will  good.  Nor  does  Paul  say 
that  God,  in  his  character  of  the  potter,  makes 
one  vessel  to  honour  and  another  to  dishonour, 
out  of  a  different  lump  of  clay;  but  "  of  the  SAME 
lump,  saith  he,  the  potter  maketh,  &c."  So 
that,  as  the  mud  always  becomes  harder,  and  the 
uncultivated  ground  more  thorny,  by  the  sun 
and  rain,  severally;  even  so,  Freewill  is  always 
made  worse,  as  well  by  the  indurating  mildness 
of  the  sun  as  by  the  liquefying  violence  of  the 
rain.0  If  the  definition  of  Freewill  then  be  one, 
and  its  impotency  the  same  in  all  men ;  no  reason 
can  be  assigned,  why  one  man's  Freewill  attains 
to  grace,  arid  another  man's  does  not ;  if  no  other 
cause  be  declared  than  the  forbearance  of  an 
enduring  God  and  the  correction  of  a  pitying  one  : 
for  it  is  assumed,  by  a  definition  which  makes  no 
distinctions,  that  Freewill  in  every  man  is  a 
power  which  can  will  nothing  good.  Then  it  will 

from  that  which  he  has  revealed  for  the  regulation  of  man's 
conduct :  what  he  calls  '  the  inscrutable  will,'  or  '  will  of  the 
hidden  God.' — My  quarrel  against  him  is,  that  he  does  not 
shew  the  connection  and  coincidence  between  these  two  wills  ; 
and  does  not  shew  a  reason  for  this  apparently  harsh  conduct. 
See,  as  before. 

0  Tempestate  plucue  liquefaciente. 


PART  iv.  follow,    that  neither   does    God   elect   any  man, 

neither  is  there  any  place  left  for  election ;   but 

man's  Freewill  alone  elects,  by  accepting  or  re 
jecting  forbearance  and  wrath.  But  deprive  God 
of  his  wisdom  and  power  in  election,  and  what 
do  you  make  him  but  a  sort  of  phantom  of  for 
tune;  whose  nod  is  the  rash  ordainer  of  all 
things  ?p  Thus,  we  shall  at  length  come  to  this, 
that  men  are  saved  and  damned,  without  God's 
knowing  it :  seeing,  he  has  not  separated  the  saved 
and  the  damned  by  a  determined  election ;  but — 
bestowing  on  all,  without  distinction,  first  a  kind 
ness  which  bears  with  them  and  hardens  them; 
then  a  pity  which  corrects  and  punishes  them — 
has  left  it  to  men,  to  determine  whether  they  will 
be  saved  or  damned ;  and  himself,  meanwhile,  has 
just  stepped  out  perhaps  to  a  banquet  of  the 
Ethiopians,  as  Homer  describes  him.q 

Aristotle  also  paints  just  such  a  God  for  us;1 

p  Cujzis  nummeomnia  temere  fiunt.     Chance  is  the  God. 

*J   Zeus  <y«/>   'Qiccavov  /LLCT'  apL.vfJ.ova^ 
X#t£"os  t-fli]  ILCTCL  caiTa'    Qeol  S'  lifia 
AoiceKttT?^  £e  TOI  avOis  eXcvaerai 

ILIAD,  A.  423—425. 

r  Aristotle,  the  disciple  and  opponent  of  Plato,  the  tutor  of 
Alexander,  the  great  master  of  rhetoric,  belles  lettres,  logic, 
physics,  metaphysics,  and  heathen  ethics,  was  in  theology 
little  better  than  an  Epicurean  ;  one  of  those  '  who  have  learned 
that  the  Gods  spend  a  life  without  care.'  (Hor.  1.  Sat.  v.  101.) 
It  is  said  in  excuse  for  the  less  explicit  parts  of  his  system,  that 
'  he  attached  himself  to  the  principles  of  natural  philosophy, 
rather  than  those  of  theology.'  He  maintained  the  existence 
of  a  God  as  the  great  mover  of  all  things ;  which  have  been 
put  into  motion  from  eternity,  and  will  continue  in  motion  to 
eternity.  Thus  lie  maintained  the  eternity  of  matter  as  well 
as  of  God.  He  painted  this  God  finely  :  '  the  necessary  being;' 
'  the  first,  and  the  most  excellent  of  beings;'  'immutable,  in 
telligent,  indivisible,  without  extension  :'  '  He  resides  above 
the  enclosure  of  the  world  ,'  '  He  there  finds  his  happiness'in 
the  contemplation  of  himself.' — How  apt  is  the  expression,  by 
which  Luther  describes  him  as  painting  God  !  (pinxit)  a  rhe 
torical  term  applied  to  that  sort  of  discourse  '  which  is  embel 
lished  with  tropes  and  figures,  such  as  display  much  genius,  but 
charm  by  their  sweetness,  rather  than  edify  by  their  intelligence.' 


one  who  sleeps,  for  example,  and  suffers  any  that  SEC.VIH. 

will,  to   use  and  to  abuse  liis  goodness  and  his  

severity.6  And  how  can  reason  judge  otherwise 
of  God,  than  Diatribe  here  does  ?  For,  as  she 
herself  snores  away,  and  despises  divine  things ; 

Aristotle's  God,  then,  is  one  who  keeps  order  in  the  heavens, 
but  interferes  in  a  very  limited  degree  with  earth.  '  All  the 
movements  of  nature  are  in  some  sort  subordinated  to  him  ;  He 
appears  to  be  the  cause  and  principle  of  every  thing;  He 
appears  to  take  some  care  of  human  affairs.  But,  in  all  the 
universe,  He  can  look  upon  nothing  but  Himself;  the  sight 
of  crime  and  of  disorder  would  defile  his  eyes  :  He  could  not 
know  how  to  be  the  author  either  of  the  prosperity  of  the 
wicked,  or  of  the  misery  of  the  good.  His  superintendence  is 
like  that  of  the  master  of  a  family,  who  has  established  a  cer 
tain  order  of  things  in  his  household,  and  takes  care  that  the 
end  which  he  has  in  view  be  accomplished,  but  shuts  his  eyes 
to  their  divisions  and  their  vices,  and  only  takes  care  to  obviate 
the  consequences  of  them.  He  stamped  the  impress  of  his 
will  upon  the  universe,  when  first  he  projected  it  like  a  bail 
from  his  hand  ;  and  it  is  by  a  general,  not  minute,  superintend 
ence,  that  he  sustains  it.  The  perpetuation  of  the  several 
species  of  beings  is  his  grand  object:  which  he  secured  by  his 
one  first  impulse.'* — Has  Luther  calumniated  this  philosopher? 
Yet  was  this  heathen  teacher  made  the  great  model  for  instruc 
tion  to  the  Christian  church,  both  as  to  form  and  substance,  for 
many  ages.  During  the  second  period  of  the  reign  of  the 
schoolmen,  which  began  early  in  the  thirteenth  century,  his 
reputation  was  at  its  height  :  the  most  renowned  doctors  wrote 
elaborate  commentaries  upon  his  works.  The  predominance  of 
his  philosophy — '  a  philosophy,  which  knew  nothing  of  original 
sin  and  native  depravity ;  which  allowed  nothing  to  be  crimi 
nal,  but  certain  external  flagitious  actions ;  and  which  was 
unacquainted  with  any  righteousness  of  grace,  imputed  to  a 
sinner' — was  itself  a  corruption,  and  the  fruitful  source  of  other 
corruptions,  which  cried  aloud  for  reformation,  mid  which  TUB 
IEFORMERS  of  the  sixteenth  century  exposed  and  suppressed. 
'  ',See  Miln.  Eccles.  Hist.  vol.  iv.  p.  283.) 

1  Correplione.~\  The  word  has  occurred  several  times  be- 
!  ore,  and  I  have  rendered  it  by  '  correction,'  '  chastening,' 
severity.'  It  properly  denotes  '  the  snatching  of  a  substance 
lastily  up,'  and  is  applied  sometimes  to  the  seizure  of  the  body 
»y  disease.  Hence,  it  is  transferred  to  a  figurative  '  cutting 
hort;'  "At  that  time  the  Lord  began  to  cut  Israel  short" 
2  Kings  x.  C23.)  ;  and  so,  to  'reprehension,  chiding  and 
hastisement '  in  general. 

*  I  am  indebted  to  the  AbW  Barthelemi's  Anacharsis  for  this  concise  but 
loquent  view  of  Aristotle's  Theology,  vol.  v.  chap.  Ixiv. 


PART  iv.  so,  she  judges  even  of  God,   that  he  in  some  sort 

snores  away;  and,  having  nothing  to  do  with  the 

exercise  of  wisdom,  will  and  present  power  *  in 
electing,  separating  and  inspiring,  has  committed 
to  men  this  busy  and  troublesome  work  of  accept 
ing  and  rejecting  his  forbearance  and  his  wrath. 
This  is  what  we  come  to,  whilst  coveting  to  mete 
out,  and  excuse  God,  by  the  counsel  of  human 
reason;  whilst,  instead  of  reverencing  the  secrets 
of  His  Majesty,  we  break  in  to  scrutinize  them — 
overwhelmed  with  his  glory,  instead  of  uttering 
one  single  plea  in  excuse  for  him,  wTe  vomit  forth 
a  thousand  blasphemies  !  We  forget  our  own- 
selves  also  the  mean  while,  and  chatter,  like  mad 
people,  both  against  God  and  against  ourselves, 
in  the  same  breath;  though  our  design  is  to  speak 
with  great  wisdom,  both  for  God  and  for  our 
selves.  You  see  here,  in  the  first  place,  what 
this  trope  and  gloss  of  Diatribe's  makes  of  God  : 
but  do  you  not  also  see,  how  vastly  consistent  she 
is  with  herself  in  it?  She  had  before  made  Free 
will  equal  and  alike  in  all,  by  including  all  in  one 
definition;  but  now,  in  the  course  of  her  dispu 
tation,  she  forgets  her  own  definition,  and  makes 
a  cultivated  Freewill  one,  and  an  uncultivated 
Freewill  another ;  setting  out  a  diversity  of  Free- 
wills,  according  to  the  diversity  of  works,  habits, 
and  characters;  one  that  can  do  good,  another 
that  cannot  do  good  :  and  this,  by  its  own  powers, 
before  grace  received;  by  which  powers  of  its 
own,  she  had  laid  it  down  in  her  definition,  that 
Freewill  could  not  of  itself  will  any  thing  good. 
Thus  it  comes  to  pass,  tliat,  if  we  will  not  leave 
to  the  sole  will  of  God  both  the  will  and  the  power 
to  harden,  and  to  shew  mercy,  and  to  do  every 
thing;  we  must  ascribe  to  Freewill  herself  the 
power  of  doing  every  thing,  without  grace  :  al 
though  we  have  denied  that  it  can  do  any  thing 
good  without  grace. 

1  Sap.  vol.  prcBsentid  elig,  discern,  inspir.  omissd. 


The  simile  of  the  sun  and  rain,  then,  is  of  no    SEC.ix. 

force  as    to    this  point.      A   Christian  will    use  

that  simile  with  far  greater  propriety,  consider 
ing  the  Gospel  to  be  that  sun  and  rain  (as  Ps. 
xix.  and  Heb.  vi.  do) ;  the  cultivated  ground,  the 
elect;  the  uncultivated,  the  reprobate.  The 
former  of.  these  are  edified  and  made  better  by 
the  word;  the  latter  are  offended  and  made 
worse:  whereas  Freewill,  when  left  to  herself, 
is  in  all  men  the  uncultivated  ground;  yea,  the 
kingdom  of  Satan. 

Let  us  also  look  into  her  reasons  for  imagining  Erasmus's 
this  trope  in  this  place.     It  seems  absurd,  says  {^JoT* 
Diatribe,  that  God,  who  is  not  only  just  but  also  cizingcon- 
good,   should  be  said  to  have  hardened  a  man's  sidered- 
heart  in  order  to  manifest  his  own  power  by  the 
man's  wickedness.     So  she  runs  back  to  Origen ; 
who  confesses,  that  God  gave  occasion  to  the  in 
duration,  but  flings  back  the  blame  upon  Pharaoh. 
Origen   has,    besides,    remarked   that  the   Lord 
said,  "  For  this  cause  have  I  raised  tliee  up  :"  He 
does  not  say,  '  for  this  cause  have  I  made  thee.y 
No :  for  Pharaoh  would  not  have  been   wicked, 
if  he  had  been  such  as  God  made  him ;  God  hav 
ing  beheld  all  his  works,  and  they  were  very  good. 
So  much  for  Diatribe. 

Absurdity,  then,  is  one  of  the  principal  reasons  Absurdity 
for  not  understanding  Moses's  and  Paul's  words  j}0.1  a  suf" 
in  their  simple  and  literal  sense.     But  what  ar 
ticle  of  faith  is  violated  by  this  absurdity,  and 
who  is  offended  by  it  ?      Human  reason  is  of 
fended  :    and  she   forsooth,    who   is   blind,  deaf, 
foolish,  impious  and  sacrilegious  in  her  dealings 
with  all  the  words  and  works  of  God,  is  brought 
n  here  to  be  the  judge  of  God's  works  and  words. 
Upon  the  same  principle,  you  will  deny  all  the 
irticles  of  the  Christian  faith ;  inasmuch  as  it  is 
:he  most  absurd  thing  possible,    and,    as   Paul 
:ays,    "  to    the    Jews    a    stumbling    block,    and 
o  the  Gentiles   foolishness,"    that   God    should 



PART  IV.  become  man,,  the  son  of  a  virgin ;  that  lie  should 
•  have  been  crucified;  that  he  should  be  sitting  at 
the  right  hand  of  the  Father.  It  is  absurd,  I  say, 
to  believe  such  things.  Let  us  therefore  invent  some 
tropes  like  those  of  the  Arians,  to  prevent  Christ 
from  being  God  absolutely?  Let  us  invent  some 
tropes  like  those  of  the  Manicheans/  to  prevent 

u  Simpliciter,  opposed  to  figuratively.     See  Sect.  iii.  note  (). 

v  The  Manichees,  so  called  from  Manes  their  founder,  arose 
in  the  reign  of  the  Emperor  Probus,  A.  D.  <277-  '  Like  most  of 
the  ancient  heretics,  they  abounded  in  senseless  whims,  not 
worthy  of  any  solicitous  explanation.  This  they  had  in  com 
mon  with  the  Pagan  philosophers,  that  they  supposed  the 
Supreme  Being  to  be  material,  and  to  penetrate  all  nature. 
Their  grand  peculiarity  was  to  admit  of  two  independent  prin 
ciples,  a  good  and  an  evil  one,  in  order  to  solve  the  arduous 
question  concerning  the  origin  of  evil.  Like  all  heretics,  they 
made  a  great  parade  of  seeking  truth  with  liberal  impartiality, 
and  were  thus  qualified  to  deceive  unwary  spirits,  who,  far 
from  suspecting  their  own  imbecility  of  judgment,  and  re 
gardless  of  the  word  of  (rod  and  hearty  prayer,  have  no  idea  of 
attaining  religious  knowledge  by  any  other  method  than  by 
natural  reason.'  '  Like  all  other  heretics  they  could  not  stand 
before  the  Scriptures.  They  professedly  rejected  the  Old 
Testament,  as  belonging  to  the  malignant  principle  ;  and,  Avhen 
they  were  pressed  with  the  authority  of  the  New,  as  corrobo 
rating  the  Old,  they  pretended  the  New  was  adulterated. — 
Is  there  any  new  thing  under  the  sun  ?  Did  not  Lord  Boling- 
broke  set  up  the  authority  of  St.  John  against  St.  Paul  ?  Have 
we  not  heard  of  some  parts  of  the  Gospel  as  not  genuine,  be* 
cause  they  suit  not  Socinian  views  ?  Genuine  Christian  prin 
ciples  alone  will  bear  the  test,  nor  fear  the  scrutiny  of  the 
WHOLE  word  of  God.' — Augustine,  who  lived  about  a  century 
after  they  had  first  arisen,  describes  them  to  the  life ;  after 
having  himself  smarted  under  the  poison  of  their  arrows, 
for  about  twelve  years  :  seduced  partly  by  their  subtile  and 
captious  questions  concerning  the  origin  of  evil,  partly  by 
their  blasphemies  against  the  Old  Testament  saints. — 
With  respect  to  the  person  of  Christ,  their  heresy  was  like 
that  of  the  Gnostics,  or  Docetae  :  worthy  children  of  Simon 
Magus  !  They  held  that  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  had  no  proper 
humanity  ;  the  mere  phantasm  of  a  man  having  glided,  as 
Luther  here  describes  it,  through  the  virgin's  womb,  and  after 
wards  expired  upon  the  cross. — '  Yet  though  my  ideas  were 
material,  says  Augustine,  I  could  not  bear  to  think  of  God 
being  flesh.  That  was  too  gross  and  low  in  my  apprehensions. 
Thy  only  begotten  son  appeared  to  me  as  the  most  lucid  part 
of  thee,  afforded  for  our  salvation,  I  concluded  that  such  a 


his  being  a  real  man ;  and  let  us  make  him  out  to  SECT.IX. 

be  a  sort  of  phantom,  which  glided  through  the  

virgin  (like  a  ray  of  the  sun  through  a  piece  of 
glass),  and  was  crucified.  A  nice  way  of  handling 
Scripture  ! 

And  yet  these  tropes  get  us  no  forwarder,  and  Does  not 
do  not  serve  to  evade  the  absurdity :  for  it  still 
remains  absurd  in  the  eye  of  reason  that  this  just 
and  good  God  should  demand  impossibilities  of 
Freewill ;  and  when  Freewill  cannot  will  good, 
but  by  necessity  serves  sin,  should  nevertheless 
impute  it  to  her ;  and  so  long  as  he  withholds  the 
Spirit,  should  not  be  a  whit  more  kind,  or  more 
merciful,  than  if  he  were  to  harden  or  permit  men 
to  be  hardened.  Reason  will  be  again  and  again 
repeating,  that  these  are  not  the  acts  of  a  kind 
and  merciful  God.  These  things  so  far  exceed 
her  apprehension,  and  she  so  wants  power  to  take 
even  her  own  self  captive,  that  she  cannot  believe 
God  to  be  good  if  he  should  act  and  judge  so; 
but  setting  faith  aside,  demands  that  she  should 
be  able  to  touch  and  see  and  comprehend  how 
it  is  that  He  is  just  and  not  cruel.  Now  she 
would  have  this  sort  of  comprehension  if  it  were 
said  of  God,  f  he  hardens  nobody,  he  damns 
nobody ;  on  the  contrary,  he  pities  every  body, 
he  saves  every  body ;'  so  as  that  hell  should  be 
destroyed,  and  the  fear  of  death  removed,  and  no 
future  punishment  dreaded.  Hence  it  is,  that  she 
becomes  so  boisterous  and  so  vehementx  in  ex- 
nature  could  not  be  born  of  the  Virgin  Mary,  without  par 
taking  of  human  flesh,  which  I  thought  must  pollute  it. 
Hence  arose  my  fantastic  ideas  of  Jesus,  so  destructive  of  all 
piety.  Thy  spiritual  children  may  smile  at  me  with  charitable 
sympathy,  if  they  read  these  my  confessions ;  such  however 
were  my  views.' — Milner  in  Augustine's  Confessions,  Eccles. 
Hist.  vol.  ii.  pp.  314 — 327. 

x  SEstuat  et  contendit.~]  JEst.  denoting  violent  heat  in  gene 
ral,  is  especially  applied  to  the  boiling  and  swelling  of  the  sea, 
when  it  ebbs  and  flows,  or  rises  in  surges  and  waves.  Contend. 
expresses  the  full  stretch  of  every  nerve  and  muscle  in  close 



PART  IV.  cusing  and  defending  the  just  and  beneficent  God. 

Faith  and  the  Spirit,  however,  judge  differently; 

they  believe  God  to  be  good,  although  he  should 
destroy  all  men.     And  of  what  use  is  it,  that  we 
are  wearied  to  deatli  with  these  elaborate  specu 
lations  that  we  may  be  enabled  to  remove   the 
blame     of   induration    from    God     to    Freewill. 
Let  Freewill   do   what    she    can,    with    all    her 
means y  and  all  her  might  in  exercise,  she  will 
never  furnish  an  example  of  avoiding  to  be  har 
dened  where  God  has  not  given  his  Spirit,  or  of 
earning  mercy  where  she  has  been  left  to  her 
own  powers.     For,  what  is  the  difference  whether 
she  be  hardened  or  deserve  to  be  hardened ;  since 
hardening  is  necessarily  in  her,  so  long  as  that 
impotency,  by  which,  according  to  Diatribe  her 
self],  she  cannot  will  good,  is  in  her.     Since  the 
absurdity  then  is  not  removed  by  these  tropes,  or,  if 
removed,  is  removed  but  to  make  way  for  greater 
absurdities,  and  to  ascribe  all  power  to  Freewill; 
away  with  these  useless  and  misleading  tropes, 
and  let  us  stick  to  the  pure  and  simple  Mrord  of 

SECT.  x.       <  The  other   principal   reason   why   this  trope 

should  be  received  is,  that  the  things  which  God 

made^u*    -hath  made  are  very  good :    and   God   does   not 
things  very  say,  I  have  made  thee  for  this  very  thing,  but  for 
good  not  a  this  very  thing  I  have  raised  thee  up/ 

reason.  First  I  answer,  that  this  was  said  before  the 

fall  of  man,  when  the  things  which  God  had 
made  were  very  good.  But  it  follows  presently, 
in  the  third  chapter,  how  man  was  made  evil, 
deserted  of  God  and  left  to  himself.  From  this 
man,  so  corrupted,  all  men  are  born,  and  born 

>"  Toto  mundo  totisque  viribus.~\  Mundus  is  properly  '  the 
stuff  of  the  world' — the  materials  of  which  it  is  constituted — 
and  is  transferred  thence  to  all  kinds  of  furniture  and  provi 
sion — specially  to  'women's  dress  and  ornaments  '•'  '  instru- 
mentum  ornatus  muliebris.'  I  would  not  be  sure  that  Luther 
has  not  some  allusion  to  'Madam  Diatribe's'  adornments 


wicked ;  Pliaroah  amongst  the  rest.  As  Paul  SECT-  x- 
says,  "  We  were  all  by  nature  the  children  of 
wrath,  even  as  others."  God  therefore  did  make 
Pharaoh  wicked ;  that  is,  out  of  a  wicked  and 
corrupted  seed.  As  he  says  in  the  Proverbs  of 
Solomon,  "  The  Lord  hath  made  all  things  for 
himself,  yea,  even  the  wicked  man  for  the  day  of 
evil"  (not  indeed  by  creating  wickedness  in  him, 
but  by  forming  him  out  of  an  evil  seed  and 
ruling  him.)  It  is  not  a  just  conclusion  there 
fore,  f  God  formed  the  wicked  man,  therefore  he 
is  not  wicked/  For  how  can  it  be  that  he  is 
not  wicked,  springing  as  he  does  from  a  wicked 
seed  ?  As  he  says  in  Psalm  li.  "  Behold  I  was 
conceived  in  sins."  And  Job  says,  "  Who  can 
make  clean  that  which  has  been  conceived  of 
unclean  seed?"  For  although  God  does  not  make 
sin,  still  he  ceases  not  to  form  and  to  multiply  a 
nature  which  has  been  corrupted  by  sin,  through 
the  withdrawal  of  the  Spirit:  just  as  if  a  car 
penter  should  make  statues  of  rotten  wood. 
Thus  men  are  made  just  such  as  their  nature 
is,  through  God's  creating  and  forming  them  of 
that  nature.2 

z  Luther  has  not  exactly  hit  the  nail  upon  the  head  here. 
He  declares  that  God  makes  '  wicked  man;'  and  that  he  so 
makes  him,  through  the  faultiness  of  the  materials  which  he  ha» 
to  work  with,  being  fitly  compared  to  '  a  carpenter  who  should 
make  statues  of  rotten  wood.'  Moreover,  this  faultiness  of  the. 
materials  arose  from  the  sin  of  the  first  man;  who  was  created 
having  the  Spirit,  what  he  elsewhere  calls  '  the  firstfruits  of 
the  Spirit,'  (Part  iii.  Sect,  xviii.)  which  he  lost  by  his  sin  and 
fall ;  being  thenceforth  deserted  of  God,  and  loft  to  himself. — I 
deem  both  these  propositions  objectionable  and  false.  Neither 
doth  God  make  sinners  ;  neither  did  he  withdraw  the  Spirit 
from  Adam  by  reason  of  his  sin,  and  so,  through  him,  from  the 
race  which  has  sprung  from  him  ;  for  he  never  had  it. — When 
God  created  man  in  his  own  image,  he  created  every  man. 
The  substance  of  every  individual  man  and  woman  which  exists, 
hath  existed,  and  shall  exist  till  the  trumpet  shall  sound  and 
the  dead  shall  be  raised,  was  enclosed  in  the  first  man,  Adam. 
No  new  matter  of  human  kind  has  been  brought  into  existence 
since  that  moment  5  no  human  being  has  been  created  thcro- 


PART  iv.       Secondly   I    answer,   if  you   will  have   those 
words,  "  were  very  good,"  to  be  understood  of 

fore,  posterior  to  it.   (See  Locke's  Essay,  book  ii.  chap.  xxvi. 
sect.  2.)     T^or  was  this  creation  the  mere  production  of  a  mass 
of  human  substance,  like  so  much  clay  in  the  hands  of  a  potter 
which  was   afterwards   to  be   moulded  into   distinct   vessels. 
Distinctness  and  individuality  of  subsistence  was  given  to  the 
several  individuals   of  the  human  race  in  that  instant.     This 
appears,  as  Avell  from  other   considerations  which  might   be 
stated,    as  from  these   eminently;    1.  Man  is   spoken  of,  and 
spoken  to,  as  plural.    ("  Let  them  have  dominion."   "  Male  and 
female  created  he  them"     "  God  blessed  them,  and  God  said 
unto  them,  Be  ye  fruitful  and  multiply."  "  And  called  their  name 
Adam,  in  the  day  when  they  were  created.")     2.  God  is  de 
clared  to  have  created  them  male  and  female  :   a  fact  which  the 
Lord  Jesus  refers  to  (Matt.  xix.  4,  5.  Mark  x.  6.),  as  indicative 
of  his  Father's  will  concerning  marriage.   (It  is  clearly  not  the 
formation  of  Eve  to  which  he  refers,  but  that  act  of  creation 
which    distinctly   preceded    the     making   of  the   help-meet.) 
3.  God  is  said  to  have  chosen  his  people  to  be  in  Christ  before 
the  foundation  of  the  world  ;  which  implies  that  the  whole  race 
was  contemplated  as  personally  and  individually  subsistent,  in 
a  state  prior  to  the  exercise  of  that  choice. — Having  thus  given 
a  distinct  personal  subsistence  to  every  individual  of  the  human 
race  in    Adam,  when   the  Lord    God   added  the   procreative 
power,  and  gave  command  to  exercise  it ;  essentially  he  did 
make  every  individual :  the  substance  about  to  come  forth,  in 
the  Lord's  time,  into  manifest  existence  and  distinct  personal 
•agency,  was   already  formed  ;    the  power  and   the   authority 
which  would  be  necessary  to  its  production,  were  superadded; 
Then,  if  this  was  God's   '  condidit'    (Luther's  term — '  made,' 
'formed,'  'builded'),  hath  He  made   '  wicked  man  ?'     Is  not 
that  saying  of  the  Preacher  hereby,  and  hereby  only,  shewn  to 
be  true,  "  God  hath  made  man  upright?"   (Eccles.  vii.  29.) — 
The  only  consideration,  which  can  have  any  shew  of  involving 
God  in  the  propagation  of  the  wicked,  is,  that  he  did  not  at 
once  destroy  the  offender,  and  those  who  had  offended  in  him. 
But,  without  here  suggesting  counsel  and  design  (we  are  deal 
ing  with  facts),  the  living  substances  were  formed;  the  power 
and  the  authority  for  production  had  been  given ;  a  curse  was 
upon   them,  which   they  must  be  brought  out  into  manifest 
existence   that  they  might   be   seen   and   known  to   bear. — I 
cannot  but  remark,  that  these,  or  some  such  reasons,  which 
arise  out  of  the  reality  of  their  previous  distinct  subsistence, 
seem  absolutely  necessary  to  the  vindication  of  God  from  the 
charge  of  propagating  sin. — If  it  be  asked  then,  but  how  could 
those  who  had  no  eye  to  see,  no  ear  to  hear,  no  hand  to  put 
forth,  commit  an  act  of  disobedience  ?  The  answer  is,  Adam  was 
the  sole  personal  agent  ("  By  one  man  sin  entered  into  the  world  j " 


the  works  of  God  after  tlie  fall,  you  will  observe  SECT.  x. 
they  are  spoken  not  of  us,  but  of  God.     He  does 

"  by  one  man's  offence  death  reigned  by  one  ;"  "  by  the  offence 
of  one  judgment  came  upon  all  men  to  condemnation")  ;  but 
every  individual  of  the  race  was  enclosed  in,  and  was  part  of 
his  substance,  so  that  he  could  not  do  any  thing  in  which  any 
one  of  them  was  not  one  Avith  him. — My  head  offendeth  ;  but 
Avhcre  is  my  hand  and  my  foot,  in  the  transgression  and  in  its 
punishment  ? — That  this  is  the  Scripture  view  of  the  fall — '  one 
personal  agent  5  but  every  human  being  partaker  Avith  him  in 
the  offence' — is  decisively  shewn  from  Romans  v.  12.  Whether 
e(j)'  ii*  be  rendered  in  whom,  ("  through  him  in  whom  all  sin 
ned" — which  I  greatly  prefer),  or  for  that :  the  words  Avhich 
follow  make  it  plain,  that  'all  men'  are  dealt  Avith — or  rather, 
all  men,  from  Adam  to  Moses,  were,  dealt  Avith — on  the 
ground  of  the  first  transgression. — I  have  no  other  clue  to  my 
own  character  ;  I  have  no  other  clue  to  my  OAVH  state.  Nor 
can  I  othenvise  explain  Avhat  is  thus  made  clear  in  the  spirit 
and  behaA'iour  of  other  men. — And  does  not  the  church  of 
England  recognise  this  account  of  the  matter  in  her  baptismal 
service,  Avhen  she  prays  that  the  infant  '  may  receive  remission 
of  his  sins  by  spiritual  regeneration;'  and  afterwards  instructs 
the  priest  to  speak  to  the  god-fathers  and  god-mothers  in  this 
wise  ;  '  Ye  have  prayed  that  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ  Avould 
A'ouehsafe  to  release  him  of  his  sins.'  What  sins  r — This  is 
the  reality  of  '  original  sinj'  Avhence  floAved  '  original  guilt/ 
whence  floAved  '  depravation  of  nature,'  so  commonly  mistaken 
for  it.  This  alone  constitutes  every  son  and  daughter  of  fallen 
Adam  a  fallen  creature  ;  not  merely  child  of  the  fallen,  but 
themselves,  individually  and  personally,  fallen  from  their  own 
original  uprightness,  in  him. — I  haA'c  hinted  that  this  is  not  the 
place  to  speak  of  counsel  and  design  ;  Avith  Avhich  all  this  Avas 
done :  but  it  is  obA'ious  that  hereby  a  Avay  Avas  made  for  that, 
further  and  more  complete  developemcnt  of  God  (by  the  as 
sumption  of  neAV  relations),  Avhich  could  not  be  made  by  simple 
creation,  but  to  Avhich  creation  was  the  stepping-stone.  (See 
Part  iii.  Sect,  xxviii.  notes  l  and  v.) 

Luther  is  again  in  mistake  (see  Part  iii.  Sect,  xviii.  note  l) 
about  the  creation  state  of  man ;  speaking  as  though  the  pos 
session  of  the  Spirit  were  a  part  of  his  endowments. — '  Deser- 

tus  a  Deo  ac  sibi  relictus' '  naturam  peccato,  subtracto 

spiritu,  vitiatam.' — The  Lord  God  having  formed  his  animal 
structure  out  of  the  dust  of  the  ground — a  compound  mass — 
breathed  into  his  nostrils  breath  of  "  lifes,"  and  man  became 
a  living  soul.  This  continuity  of  soul  and  body — simple  soul, 
and  compounded  body — soul,  which  Avas  an  image  of  Him  that 
is  a  Spirit ;  and  body,  in  Avhich  he  resembled  and  Avas  pur- 
taker  Avith  the  brutes — constituted  his  essential  nature ;  the 
solution  of  Avhich  continuity  constitutes  death.  So  constituted. 


PART  IV.  not  say,  man   saw   the   things   which   God   had 
made,  and  they  were  very  good.     Many  things 

he  had  capacities  with  which  to  learn,  and  sources  of  instruc 
tion  from  which  to  derive  much  knowledge  of  God.  The  Lord 
God  conversed  with  him  face  to  face,  and  he  dwelt  amongst  the 
teaching  creatures  of  His  hand ;  even  as  he  was  himself  the 
most  teaching  of  all  creatures.  But  where  is  the  Spirit  ? 
meaning  the  Holy  Ghost.  Had  he  possessed  this — had  the 
Spirit  dwelt  and  walked  in  Him — that  is,  been  continually  pre 
sent  with  Him,  acting  in  Him  and  by  Him — he  had  possessed 
union  with  God  :  a  privilege  which  was  not  essential  to  his 
condition  and  relation  as  the  moral  creature  of  God,  but  which 
might,  or  might  not,  be  added  to  it.  That  it  was  not  added  is 
plain,  as  from  other  considerations,  so  from  this  ;  that  if  it  was 
added,  then  it  was  either  conquered  in  the  temptation,  or  with 
drawn  previous  to  it  :  I  know  not  what  a  conquered  Holy 
Ghost  can  mean  ;  and  if  withdrawn  prior  to  the  temptation,  its 
withdrawal  would  constitute  him  a  different  creature  from  that 
to  which  the  temptation  law  had  been  given.* — But  now, 
being  simply  a  creature,  and  therefore  mutable,  he  was  liable 
to  fall  by  temptation.  Accountability  implies  account  to  be 
rendered ;  account  implies  trial ;  trial  implies  the  presence  of 
that  in  the  tried  substance  which  may  be  turned  to  evil.  Was 
not  this  precisely  Adam's  state  and  constitution  ?  '  Good,' 
*  very  good,'  as  he  came  out  of  the  hands  of  his  Creator,  his 
good  might  be  made  evil.  Those  appetites  and  passions,  the 
appendages  of  his  will ;  \vhich,  in  his  creation,  and  until  evil 
was  suggested  from  without,  were  pure,  fixed  on  fit  objects, 
and  acted  in  purity  ;  were  liable  to  be  turned  to  other  objects, 
and  thus  to  become  evil.  Desire  of  knowledge,  desire  of 
pleasant  food,  taking  pleasure  in  what  is  beautiful  to  the  eye — 
all  of  which  were  sound  and  pure  in  creation — might  thus,  by 
suggestions  thrown  in,  become  evil :  as  infectious  fever,  or  the 
serpent's  bite,  poisons  healthful  blood.  If  no  evil  were  sug 
gested,  there  would  continue  only  good ;  the  suggestion,  by 
being  entertained,  mars  them. — Then,  was  God  debtor  to 
Adam,  to  withhold  temptation  from  him ;  or  to  minister  super- 

*  Luther's  misapprehension  has  much  to  do  with  a  mistake  about  the 
Spirit's  actings.  He  seems  to  have  thought,  as  many  now  do,  that  there 
might  be  a  sort  of  '  fast  and  loose'  playings  of  the  Spirit.  The  Spirit, 
when  given,  acts  in  earnest  and  efficaciously. — Would  Luther  say,  '  does  he 
always  act  efficaciously  in  the  Lord's  called  people,  now?'  I  answer,  the 
cases  are  not  parallel.  We  have  the  Spirit  not  as  our  own,  and  in  our  Adam 
selves,  but  in  Christ.  When  we  fall,  it  is  not  '  the  Spirit  conquered,'  but 
the  Spirit  not  energizing  :  what  could  not  have  happened  to  Adam. — Luther's 
expressions  are  ambiguous  as  to  the  period  when  the  Spirit  was  withdrawn  ; 
whether  before,  or  after  the  temptation.  In  a  former  note  (Part  iii.  Sect,  xviii. 
note  t)  I  have  dealt  with  him  as  representing  it  to  have  been  withdrawn 
before  the  temptation.  A  careful  comparison  of  the  several  passages  in 
which  he  refers  to  it  leads  me  to  conclude,  that  he  supposed  it  not  withdrawn 
till  after  the  sin  had  been  committed. 


seem  very  good  to  God,  and  are  so;  which  to  us  SECT.xr. 

appear  very  bad,  and  are  so.     Thus  afflictions,  

calamities,  errors,  hell,  nay  all  the  best  works  of 
God,  are,  in  the  sight  of  the  world,  very  bad  and 
damnable.  What  is  better  than  Christ  and  the 
Gospel  ?  but  what  more  hateful  to  the  world  ? 
How  those  things  then  shall  be  good  in  the  sight 
of  God,  which  are  evil  in  our  eyes,  is  a  mystery 
known  to  God  only,  and  to  those  who  see  with 
God's  eyes;  that  is,  who  have  the  Spirit.  But 
there  is  no  need  of  so  subtile  a  strain  of  argu 
mentation  just  yet.a  The  former  answer  is  suffi 
cient  for  the  present. 

It  is  asked  perhaps,  how  God  can  be  said  to  How  God 
work  evil  in  us ;  as  for  example,  to  harden,  to  J 
give    men  up  to  their  lusts,  to  tempt,   and  the  sidered. 
like?     We  ought,  forsooth,  to  be  contented  with 
the  words  of  God,  and  simply b  to  believe  what 
they  affirm ;  since  the  works  of  God  quite  surpass 
all  description.     But,  by  way  of  humouring  rea 
son,  which  is  another  name  for  human  folly,  I  am 
content  to  be  silly  and  foolish,  and  to  try  if  I  can 
at  all  move  her  by  turning  babbler.0 

In  the  first  place,  even  reason  and  Diatribe 
concede  that  God  worketh  all  things  in  all  things ; 
and  that  nothing  is  effected,  or  is  efficacious 
without  him.  He  is  omnipotent;  and  this  apper- 
taineth  to  his  omnipotency,  as  Paul  says  to  the 

creation  aid,  fortified  as  he  was  by  creation  endowments,  to 
keep  him  from  falling- ;  or  to  heal  his  wounds,  and  restore 
soundness  and  peace  to  him,  when  as  he  had  freely  fallen  ? 

a  Tarn  acutd  <Hsputatione.~]  A  sharp,  keen,  refined  distinction  : 
something  like  what  is  ascribed  to  the  "  word  of  God"  (Heb. 
iv.  12.)  "  piercing-  even  to  the  dividing  asunder  of  the  soul  and 
spirit,  and  of  the  joints  and  marrow."  Disp.  '  the  act  of  dis 
puting,'  or  '  the  debate  held.' 

b  Simpliciter  credere.']  '  Simply,'  as  opposed  to  arguments  and 
investigations.  Faith  receives  implicitly  what  God  explicitly 

c  Balbaticndo .]  Properly,  to  '  lisp,  stammer,  or  stutter.'  There 
seems  to  be  some  allusion  to  2  Cor.  xi.  "  Would  to  God  yo 
could  bear  with  me  a  little  in  my  folly  :  and  indeed  bear  with 
me."  "  I  speak  as  a  fool."  "  I  speak  foolishly." 


PART  IV.  Epliesians.d     Satan  then   and  man  having  fallen 

from  God,  and  being  deserted  by  him,  cannot  will 

good ;  that  is,  cannot  will  those  things  which 
please  God,  or  which  God  wills.  They  are  turned 
perpetually  towards  their  own  desires,  so  that 
they  cannot  but  seek  what  is  their  own,  and  not 
his.6  This  will  and  nature  of  theirs  therefore, 
which  is  thus  averse  from  God,  still  remains  a 
something.  Satan  and  the  wicked  man  are  not  a 
nothing,  having  no  nature  or  will,  though  they 
have  a  nature  which  is  corrupt  and  averse  from 
God.  This  remainder  of  nature,  therefore,  in  the 
wicked  man  and  in  Satan,  of  which  we  speak, 
seeing  it  is  the  creature  and  work  of  God, 
is  not  less  subject  to  omnipotency  and  to  divine 
actings,  than  all  the  other  creatures  and  works  of 

Since  then  God  moves  and  actuates  all  things 
in  all  things,  it  cannot  be  but  that  he  also  moves 
and  acts  in  Satan  and  in  the  wicked.  But  he  acts 
in  them  according  to  what  they  are,  and  what  he 
finds  them  ;  that  is,  since  they  are  averse  from  him 
and  wicked,  and  are  hurried  along  by  this  im 
pulse  of  the  divine  omnipotency,  they  do  only 
such  things  as  are  averse  from  him  and  wicked. 
Just  as  a  horseman,  driving  a  horse  which  is  lame 
in  one  or  two  of  his  feet,  drives  him  according  to 
his  make  and  power ;  and  so  the  horse  goes  ill. 
But  what  can  the  horseman  do?  he  drives  the 
horse  such  as  he  is  in  a  drove  of  sound  horses ; 
he  makes  him  go  ill,  the  others  well ; f  it  cannot 
be  otherwise,  unless  the  horse  be  cured.  By  this 
illustration  you  see  how  it  is,  that,  when  God 
works  in  bad  men  and  by  bad  men,  evil  is  the 
result;  but  it  cannot  be  that  God  doeth  wickedly, 
although  he  works  evil  by  the  agency  of  evil 

d  Ephes.  i.  2. 

e  Self  is  their  idol,  to  the  dethronement  of  God.  Their  own 
interests  and  gratification,  not  God's,  are  sought.  Philip,  ii.  21. 

f  Illo  male,  istis  bene.~]  More  literally,  '  he  docs  well  with, 
and  he  does  ill  with.'  dzit  cum  must  be  understood. 


men,  because  he,  being  good  himself,  cannot  do  SECT.XI. 

wickedly ; s   but   still   lie    uses   evil    instruments  

which  cannot  escape  the  seizure  and  impulse  of 
his  power.  The  fault  therefore  is  in  the  instru 
ments,  which  God  does  not  suffer  to  remain  idle, 
that  evil  is  done ;  God,  meanwhile,  himself  being 
the  impeller  of  them.  Just  as  if  a  carpenter  should 
cut  ill  by  cutting  with  an  axe  that  is  f  toothed  and 
sawed/  Hence  it  arises,  that  the  wicked'  man 
cannot  but  go  astray  and  commit  sin  continually ; 
inasmuch  as  being  seized  and  urged  by  the  power 
of  God,  he  is  not  allowed  to  remain  idle;  but 
wills,  desires,  acts,  just  according  to  what  he  is.h 

B  This  is  very  much  like  saying  '  docth  good  because  he  is 
good,  and  is  good  because  he  is  good.' — It  is  too  much  like  the 
(  ipsc  dixit*  of  the  Pythagoreans. 

h  The  amount  of  Luther's  explanation  of  the  mystery  of 
God's  agency  in  the  wicked,  as  given  in  his  folly,  is,  1.  That 
they  are  still  real  existences.  2.  Still  God's  creatures.  3.  That 
he  works  all  things  in  them,  even  as  he  does  in  all  his  crea 
tures.  4.  That  he  works  in  them  according  to  their  nature  : 
that  hence  he  docs  all  their  evil  in  them,  but  docs  no  evil  himself. 
All  this  is  true ;  but  it  is  baldly  told,  and  wants  opening, 
confirmation,  and  some  additions.  He  ought  to  shew  us  how 
man  came  to  be  what  he  is,  in  consistency  with  God's  volun 
tarily  contracted  obligations  to  him  ;  he  ought  to  shew  us  the 
nature  and  manner  of  his  agency  in  the  wicked  ;  he  ought  to 
shew  us  how  God,  in  consistency  with  himself,  ordained  and 
wrought  the  fall,  and  continues  wicked  man  in  being  ;  yea, 
Avorks  wickedness  by  him,  instead  of  destroying  him  and  put 
ting  an  end  to  the  reign  of  evil. — I  say,  he  ought  to  have  s"hcwn 
these  things  ;  because,  though  he  talks  of  '  silliness'  and  '  fool 
ishness,'  and  '  babbling,'*  it  is  plain  that  he  means  a  serious 
and  sober  solution  of  the  difficulty. — Then,  with  respect  to  the 
first  of  these  shewings,  man,  as  we  have  seen  in  a  former  note,f 
had  a  constitution  imparted,  and  a  state  assigned  to  him,  in 
which  trial  was  implied,  and  in  which  he  ought  to  have  overcome 
temptation.  There  was  no  dereliction  of  the  Creator's  engage 
ments,  no  withdrawal  of  any  possession  or  privilege,  no 
gainsaying  discession  or  addition,  with  respect  to  God's 
previous  announcements,  either  in  the  operation  of  the 
fall,  or  in  the  inflictions  which  followed  it.  The  mutability  of 
the  creature,  as  simple  creature — the  accountability  of  moral 
creature — and  the  distinct  source  (not  creation,  but  super- 

*  Lilet  ineptirc,  sttrllescere,  et  balluticndo  tentarc, 
t  See  above,  Sect.  x.  note  z. 




How  God 

PART  iv.       These  are  sure  and  settled  verities,  if  we,  in 
the  first  place,  believe  that  God  is  omnipotent; 

creation)  of  the  Spirit's  within  energizings — unveil  a  just  God  ; 
that  is,  one  who  leaves  nothing  undone  which  he  had  freely 
bound  himself  to  do,  and  does  nothing  which  he  ought  not  to 
do. — Then,  with  respect  to  the  second  of  these  sheAvings, 
Luther  compares  God's  agency  in  the  wicked  to  a  drover 
driving  on  a  lame  horse  (he  means  it  not  irreverently) ;  which 
excites  the  idea  of  physical  rather  than  moral  influence  :  but  , 
the  truth  is,  God  acts  in  the  wicked  as  in  the  righteous,  by 
setting,  or  causing  to  be  set,  such  considerations  before  the 
will,  as  constrain  it  to  choose  his  will.  This  is  moral  neces 
sity  ;  such  a  will  so  addressed  cannot  choose  differently. — Then, 
with  respect  to  the  third  of  these  shewings,  God's  most  gra 
cious  and  everlasting  design  of  making  himself  known  to,  and 
enjoyed  by,  certain  creatures  of  his  hands,  according  to  what 
He  really  is,  affords  the  ample  and  adequate  reason  for  all  that 
complex,  yet  simple,  system  of  operation,  by  which  he  has  been 
dealing  with  man  from  the  creation  to  this  hour,  and  shall 
continue  to  and  tliroughout  eternity  to  deal  with  him  : — with 
man,  his  great  manifester,  not  only  in  the  blessed  human  per 
son  of  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  (see  Part  ii.  Sect.  viii.  note  r),  but 
also  in  every  individual  substance  of  the  whole  human  race ; 
which  is  made  to  manifest  itself,  that  he  may  manifest  himself 
by  his  doings  with  it. — A  sight  like  this  justifies  wisdom  to  her 
children  :  and,  although  these  considerations  may  seem  to  apply 
themselves  exclusively  to  God's  dealings  with  the  wicked  ;  or 
at  farthest,  with  men  ;  they  will  require  but  little  extension,  to 
comprehend  all  creatures.  Evil  has  been  introduced  into  the 
creation  of  God,  and  is  not  destroyed,  but  continues  therein, 
and  shall  so  continue,  unto  God's  glory  :  because  he  could  not 
be  manifested  as  what  he  is — the  union  and  concentration  of 
all  moral  excellency — THE  TRUTH,  TUB  LOVE,  THE  POWER,  THE 
WISDOM — the  good  one — without  it. — And  what  is  this  '  evil,' 
which  has  thus  come  into,  and  thus  abides  in  God's  world  ?  a 
person — as  we  are  apt  to  account  it,  having  scriptural  autho 
rity  for  so  speaking  of  it ;  but  thinking  so  of  it,  too  often  to  our 
hurt ": — Hear  what  a  venerable  confessor  of  the  Church  has  to 
say  about  it.*  '  I  now  began  to  understand,  that  every  crea 
ture  of  thine  hand  is  in  its  nature  good,  and  that  universal 
nature  is  justly  called  on  to  praise  the  Lord  for  his  goodness. 
(Psalm  cxlviii.)  The  evil  which  I  sought  after  has  no  positive 
existence  ;  were  it  a  substance,  it  would  be  good,  because  every 
thing  individually,  as  well  as  all  things  collectively,  is  good. 
Evil  appeared  to  be  a  want  of  agreement  in  some  parts  to  others. 
My  opinion  of.  the  two  independent  principles,  in  order  to 
account  for  the  origin  of  evil,  was  without  foundation. t  Evil 

*  Augustine's  Confessions,  in  Miln.  Eccl.  Hist.  vol.  ii.  p,342. 
f  See  above,  Sect.  ix.  nyte  v. 


and,  in  the  second,  that  the  wicked  man  is  the  SEC.  xn. 

creature  of  God,  but  being  averse  from  him,  and  

left  to  himself,  without  the  Spirit  of  God,  cannot 
will  or  do  good.  God's  omnipotence  causes  that 
the  wicked  man  cannot  escape  the  moving  and 
driving  of  God ;  but,  being  necessarily  subjected 
to  God,  he  obeys  him.  Still  his  corruption,  or 
aversation  from  God,  causes  that  he  cannot  be 

is  not  a  thing-  to  be  created  ;  let  good  things  only  forsake  their 
just  place,  office  and  order,  and  then,  though  till  be  good  in 
their  nature,  evil,  which  is  only  a  privative,  abounds  and  pro 
duces  positive  misery.  I  asked  what  was  iniquity,  and  I  found 
it  to  be  no  substance,  but  a  perversity  of  the  will,  Avhich  de 
clines  from  thee,  the  supreme  substance,  to  lower  things,  and 
casts  away  its  internal  excellencies,  and  swells  with  pride 
externally.' — If  it  be  true  then,  that  the  creature,  as  creature,  is 
essentially  mutable  (what  Augustine,  and  the  schoolmen  after 
him,  applies  to  the  now  corrupted  state  of  the  human  Avill* 
being  equally  applicable  to  the  will  of  man — to  the  will  of  every 
moral  creature — in  its  essence ;  viz.  that  it  is  vertible);  if  there 
subsist  what  may  fitly  be  compared  to  a  chord  in  every  moral 
creature,  which  may  be  so  touched  as  to  yield  a  jarring  note, 
and  by  its  vibration  to  produce  discord  throughout  the  whole 
instrument ;  if  this  chord,  which  is  not  in  itself  evil,  may  be 
so  touched  by  that  which  is  not  evil  neither,  but  good  (is  not 
self-love  such  a  chord,  and  is  not  the  sense  of  God's  incompa 
rable  excellency,  or  the  intimation  of  superiority  in  some  other 
like  creature  of  God's,  or  the  suggestion  of  some  flaw,  blemish, 
or  deficiency  in  the  creature  itself — each  of  which  ought  only  to 
excite  humility,  submission,  and  gratitude — such  a  touch  ":)  ; 
can  we  have  any  difficulty  in  conceiving  how  Satan  was  with 
drawn  from  his  uprightness,  when  as  he  was  yet  only  good, 
and  nothing  but  good  was  to  be  heard  and  seen  around  him  ? — 
I  am  not  ignorant  that  some  would  divert  us  altogether  from 
contemplations  of  this  kind  :  but  why  are  we  told  so  much 
about  the  devil,  if  we  are  to  have  no  thoughts  about 
his  history  and  origin  ?  We  are  taught  that  '  pride  was 
his  condemnation'  (1  Tim.  iii.  6.);  "  that  he  was  a  murderer 
from  the  beginning,  and  abode  not  in  the  truth"  (John  viii. 
44.)  ;  "  that  he  kept  not  his  first  estate,  but  left  his  own  habit 
ation"  (Jude  6.)  ;  "  that  there  was  war  in  heaven."  (Rev. 
xii.  7-t)  Who  shall  be  ashamed  to  meditate  and  explore  what 
God  hath  revealed  unto  his  own  justification  (Rom.  iii.  4.)  and 
to  our  furtherance  and  joy  of  faith  r  (Phil.  i.  25.) 

*  See  Part  iii.  Sect.  i. 

•f  I  am  aware,  that  these  wort's  arc  in  their  connection  to  be  understood 
prophetically  ;  but  there  was  a  foundation  for  the  allusion. 


PART  IV.  moved  and  dragged  along,  according  to   good. 

God  cannot  relinquish  the  exercise  of  his  omni- 

potency  because  of  the  wicked  man's  aversation ; 
neither  can  the  wicked  man  change  his  aversation 
into  good  will.  Thus  it  conies  to  pass,  that  he  of 
necessity  errs  and  sins  perpetually,  until  he  be 
rectified  by  the  Spirit  of  God.  Howbeit,  in  all 
these  Satan  as  yet  reigns  in  peace  and  keeps  his 
palace  in  quietness,  in  subordination  to  this  im 
pulse  of  the  divine  onmipotency.  After  this  fol 
lows  the  business  of  hardening;  which  is  in  this 
wise.  The  wicked  man,  as  I  have  said  (and  the 
same  is  true  of  Satan  his  prince  also),  is  occupied 
altogether  with  himself  and  his  own  matters ;  he 
does  not  inquire  after  God,  nor  care  for  those 
things  which  are  God's;  but  seeks  his  own  wealth, 
his  own  glory,  his  own  works,  his  own  wisdom, 
his  own  power ;  a  kingdom,  in  short,  of  his  own ; 
and  what  he  wants  is  to  enjoy  these  things  in 
peace.  Now,  if  any  one  resist  him,  or  have  a 
inind  to  diminish  ought  from  these  possessions, 
his  aversion,  indignation,  and  rage  with  which  he 
is  stirred  up  against  his  adversary,  are  not  less 
vehement  than  his  desire  with  which  he  pursues 
after  these  possessions  :  and  he  is  just  as  incapable 
of  restraining  his  rage  as  he  is  of  restraining  his 
desire  and  pursuit ;  and  just  as  incapable  of  re 
straining  his  desire  as  of  putting  an  end  to  his 
existence  :  of  which  he  is  incapable,  inasmuch  as 
he  is  the  creature  of  God,  though  a  vitiated  one. 

This  is  the  history  of  that  rage  of  the  world 
against  God's  Gospel.  That  stronger  than  he, 
which  is  to  conquer  the  quiet  possessor  of  the 
palace,  comes  by  the  Gospel ;  condemning  those 
desires  of  glory  and  riches,  and  of  his  own  wis 
dom  and  righteousness  ;  in  short,  every  thing  in 
which  he  confides.  This  same  provoking  of  the 
wicked,  which  is  effected  by  God's  saying  or  doing 
something  contrary  to  their  wishes,  is  the  harden 
ing  and  burdening  of  them.  For,  whereas  they 


are  averse  of  themselves  through  the  very  corrup-  SEC.XIII. 

tion  of  tlieir  nature,  they  are  also  turned  yet  more 

out  of  the  way,  and  made  worse,  by  being  resisted 
and  robbed,  under  their  averseness.  Thus,  when 
God  was  proceeding  to  snatch  his  usurped  domi 
nion  out  of  the  hands  of  the  wicked  Pharaoh,  he 
provoked  him,  and  did  yet  more  harden  and 
weigh  down  his  heart  by  assailing  him  with  the 
words  of  Moses,  who  threatened  to  take  away 
his  kingdom,  and  to  withdraw  the  people  from  his 
dominion  :  meanwhile,  he  gave  him  not  the  Spirit 
within,  but  allowed  his  own  wicked  and  corrupt 
nature,  in  which  Satan  was  reigning,  to  grow  red 
hot,  to  boil  over,  to  rage  and  get  to  its  height, 
accompanied  with  a  sort  of  vain  confidence  and 

Let  not  any  one  think  therefore,  that  God,  Mistakes 
when  he  is  said  to  harden,  or  to  work  evil  in  us  Prohlblted« 
(for  to  harden  is  to  make  evil),  does  so  by  creating 
evil  as  it  were  anew  in  us:  just  as  you  might 
fancy  a  malignant  vintner,  full  of  mischief  himself, 
whilst  none  is  in  his  vessel,  to  pour  or  mix  poi 
son  into  or  with  the  same ;  the  vessel  all  the 
while  doing  nothing  itself,  save  that  it  receives 
or  endures  the  malignancy  of  the  mixer.  For  •• 
when  they  hear  it  said,  that  God  works  both  good 
and  evil  in  us,  and  that  we  are  subjected  to 
the  operations  of  God  by  a  mere  passive  neces 
sity  ;  many  seem  to  fancy,  that  man,  a  good  sort 
of  creature,  or  at  least  not  a  bad  one,  is,  in  some 
such  way  as  this,  made  the  subject  of  a  bad  work 
of  God's.  These  persons  do  not  sufficiently 
consider  what  a  restless  sort  of  actor  God  is,  in 
all  his  creatures,  and  how  he  suffers  none  of  them 
to  have  a  holyday.  But  let  him  who  would  have 
any  understanding  about  such  sayings  settle  it 
thus  with  himself;  that  God  works  evil  in  us 
(that  is,  by  us),  not  through  any  fault  of  his,  but 
through  our  own  faultiness :  we  being  by  nature 
evil,  and  God  good,  he  hurries  us  along  by  means 


PART  IV.  of  his  own  agency  (such  is  the  nature  of  his  omni- 
•  potency),  and,  good  as  he  is  in  himself,  cannot 
do  otherwise  than  work  evil  by  an  evil  instru 
ment;  which  he  makes  a  good  use  of  however 
(such  is  his  wisdom),  by  turning  it  to  his  own 
glory  and  our  salvation.1 

In  like  manner,  he  finds  the  will  of  Satan  evil 
without  creating  it  so;  what  has  become  such, 
through  God's  deserting  of  him  and  Satan's  sin 
ning;  and  finding  it  so,  he  lays  hold  of  it  in  the 
course  of  his  operations,  and  moves  it  whither 
soever  he  will :  yet  this  will  does  not  cease  to  be 
evil,  because  God  thus  moves  it.  Just  so,  David 
says  of  Shimei  (2  Sam.  xvi.  10.),  "  Let  him  curse, 
for  God  hath  commanded  him  to  curse  David." — 
How  does  God  command  him  to  curse  ?  such  a 
malignant  and  wicked  act !  There  was  no  exter 
nal  commandment  of  this  kind  to  be  found  any 
where.  David  then  has  regard  to  this  consi 
deration,  that  the  omnipotent  God  speaks,  and  it 
is  done ;  that  is,  he  doeth  all  things  by  his  eternal 
word.  So  then,  the  divine  agency  and  omnipo- 
tency  seizes  hold  of  the  will  of  Shimei,  together 
with  all  his  members — that  will  which  was  already 
,  evil,  and  which  had  aforetime  been  inflamed 
against  David ;  who  met  him  just  at  the  right 
moment,  as  having  deserved  such  a  cursing — and 
even  the  good  God  commands  (that  is,  he  speaks 
the  wrord  and  it  is  done)  this  curse,  which  is 
poured  out  by  a  wicked  and  blasphemous  organ, 
inasmuch  as  he  seizes  hold  of  that  organ,  and  car 
ries  it  along  with  him  in  the  course  of  his  own 

SEC. xiv.  Thus  he  hardens  Pharaoh,  when  he  presents  his 
words  and  works  to  his  wicked  and  evil  will ; 
which  that  will  hates,  through  innate  faultiness, 

case  consi 

>  The  wheels  of  God's  omnipotent  providence  (see  Ezek.  i. 
15 — 21.)  carry  the  evil  as  well  as  the  good  along  with  them  in 
their  goings  :  and  this  unto  God's  glory  ;  but  is  it  unto  salva 
tion  also  } — This  is  Luther's  defective  view. 


no  doubt,  and  natural   corruption.    Now,  when  SEC.XIV. 

God  does  not  change  this  will  inwardly  by  his 

Spirit,  but  persists  in  presenting  and  obtruding 
his  words  and  works ;  and  when  Pharaoh,  on  the 
other  hand,  considering  his  strength,  wealth  and 
power,  confides  in  them,  through  the  same  natural 
pravity ;  it  comes  to  pass,  that,  being  puffed  up 
and  exalted  by  his  own  fancied  greatness,  on  the 
one  hand,  and  being  rendered  a  proud  despiser 
by  the  meanness  as  well  of  Moses  as  of  the  word 
of  God  which  comes  to  him  in  an  abject  form, 
on  the  other;  he  is  first  hardened,  and  then  more 
and  more  provoked  and  aggravated,  the  more 
Moses  urges  and  threatens  him.  This  evil  will 
of  his,  however,  would  not  of  itself  be  stirred  up 
to  action,  or  hardened  ;  but  since  the  omnipotent 
actor  drives  it  along  as  he  does  the  rest  of  his 
creatures,  by  an  inevitable  impulse,  will  it  must. 
Add  to  this,  that  He  at  the  same  time  presents 
from  without  that  which  naturally  irritates  and 
offends  it;  so  that  Pharaoh  cannot  avoid  being 
hardened  any  more  than  he  can  avoid  the  agency 
of  the  divine  omnipotence,  and  the  aversation  or 
malignancy  of  his  own  will.  So  that  Pharaoh's 
hardening  by  God  is  completed  thus ;  he  sets 
before  his  maliciousness  that  which  he  of  his  own 
nature  hates  from  without;  after  this  he  ceases 
not  to  stimulate  that  evil  will,  just  such  as  he  finds 
it,  by  his  own  omnipotent  impulse  within.  The 
man  meanwhile,  such  being  the  wickedness  of  his 
will,  cannot  but  hate  what  is  contrary  to  himself^ 
and  confide  in  his  own  strength.  Thus  he  is  made 
obstinate  to  such  a  degree,  that  he  neither  hears 
nor  has  any  understanding,  but  is  hurried  away 
under  the  possession  of  the  devil,  like  one  mad 
and  raving. k 

k  Luther's  account  of  ''  is,  1.  God  actuates  the 
wicked  as  well  as  the  rest  of  his  creatures,  according  to 
their  nature.  <2.  Satan  is  in  them  unresisted  and  undisturbed. 
3.  They  can  only  will  evil.  4.  God  thwarts  them  by  word,  or 



view  of  the  case  be  satisfactory,  I  have 
gained  my  cause  ;  we  agree  to  explode  tropes  and 

or  deed,  or  both.  All  this  is  correct  j  but  it  is  not  the  whole 
of  the  matter ;  neither  does  he  put  the  several  parts  of  the 
machinery  together,  cleverly  5  neither  does  he  shew  an  end.  (See 
above,  Sect.  xi.  note  h.  All  these  things  are  of  God,  through 
God,  and  to  God.  (Rom.  xi.  36.)  The  natural  man  has  been 
brought  into  the  state  in  which  he  is,  of,  through,  and  to  him. 
And  what  is  that  state  ?  earthly,  sensual,  devilish  soul  (James 
iii.  16.),  possessed  by  the  devil;  to  whom  it  was  given  up,  as  a 
prey,  in  the  day  of  apostasy.  Luther  distinguishes  the  '  moving 
and  driving,'  or  '  seizing  and  moving,'  of  God,  from  his  <  word 
and  work.'  It  is  a  fine  image  which  he  draws  of  God  giving 
motion  to  f  all  creature.'  But  if  this  idea  be  examined,  it  will 
be  found  to  amount  to  no  more  than  that  God  keeps  all  his 
creatures  in  a  state  of  being  which  is  accordant  to  their  nature  ; 
and  that  the  wicked  therefore  are,  by  the  necessity  of  their 
nature,  kept  by  him  in  a  state  of  activity,  and  not  allowed  to  be 
torpid,  or,  as  Luther  facetiously  expresses  it,  '  to  have  a  holy- 
day.'  Particular  actings  of  God,  then,  upon  this  substance  of  the 
human  soul,  such  and  so  related,  are  what  he  expresses  by 
God's  '  thwarting  word  and  work  :'  but  this  thwarting  word 
and  work  extends  only  to  the  outside  of  the  man  ;  forls  qffert — 
forts  objicit.  All  this  while,  Satan's  is  an  agency  with  which,  as 
it  respects  others,  God  does  not  interfere  :  he  is  no  agent,  no 
minister  of  His.  You  might  almost  judge  from  his  language 
in  some  places  (contradicted  it  is  true  by  others),  that  he  ac 
counted  Satan  a  sort  of  independent  chief.- — Now  here,  if  I  mis 
take  not,  the  root  of  the  matter  lies.  Satan  is  an  agent  and 
minister  of  God.  (See  Job  i.  11.  1  Kings  xxii.  1 9 — 23.  1  Chron. 
xxi.  1.  Compare  2  Sam,  xxiv.  1.  Zech.  iii.  1 — 3.)  Nor  can  I 
•understand  the  expressions  so  repeatedly  applied  to  the  case  of 
Pharaoh,  "  I  will  harden  Pharaoh's  heart ;"  nor  "  Whom  he 
will  he  hardeneth;"  nor  "God  hath  given  them  the  spirit 
of  slumber/'  nor  "Thou  hast  hid  these  things  from  the 
wise  and  prudent  •"  and  the  like — without  recurring  to  this 
agency  :  which  obviously  meets  their  full  and  express  import, 
whilst  nothing  else,  or  less,  does. — And  what  is  the  effect  of 
this  agency  but  such  as  hath  been  already  ascribed  to  the  ope 
ration  of  God  ?  (see  note  h,  as  before)  hereby  '  He  sets,  or 
causes  to  be  set,  such  considerations  (it  might  be  added,  and 
causes  such  to  be  withheld — for  Satan  throws  dust  into  men's 
eyes  ;  hinders  them  from  seeing,  as  well  as  causes  them  to  see 
wrongly)  before  the  mind  of  His  free-agent,  as  morally  constrain 
him  to  choose  what  He  hath  willed. — O  what  is  there  that  can 
give  peace  under  the  realizing  consciousness  of  his  being  and 
•agency,  but  the  assurance  that  he  is  in  truth  only  this  agent  of 
God  for  good,  and  nothing  but  good,  to  his  chosen  ? — God's 
hardening,  therefore,  I  define  generally  to  be  ( that  special  opera- 


the  glosses  of  men,  and  to  understand  the  words  SEC.XIV. 
of  God  literally,  that  it  may  not  be  necessary  to 
make  excuses  for  God,  or  accuse  him  of  injustice. 
When  he  says,  I  will  harden  Pharaoh's  heart,  he 
speaks  in  plain  language,  as  if  he  should  say,  I 
will  cause  that  the  heart  of  Pharaoh  shall  be  hard 
ened;  or,  that  it  shall  be  hardened  through  my 
doings  and  workings.  How  this  is  effected,  we 
have  heard :  it  shall  be  by  my  exciting  his  own 
evil  will  inwardly  by  that  general  sort  of  impulse  by 
which  I  move  all  things,  so  that  he  shall  go  on  under 
his  own  bias,  and  in  his  own  course  of  willing ; 
nor  will  I  cease  to  stimulate  him,  nor  can  I  do 
otherwise.  I  will  at  the  same  time  present  him 
with  a  word  and  a  work,  which  that  evil  bias  of 
his  will  fall  foul  of;  since  he  can  do  nothing  else 
but  choose  ill,  whilst  I  stimulate  the  very  sub 
stance  of  the  evil  which  is  in  him,  by  virtue  of  my 

Thus  was  God  most  sure,  and  thus  did  he  with 
the  greatest  certainty  pronounce,  that  Pharaoh 
should  be  hardened,  as  being  most  sure,  that 
Pharaoh's  will  could  neither  resist  the  excitement 
of  his  omnipotency,  nor  lay  aside  its  own  mali 
ciousness,  nor  receive  Moses  as  a  friend  when  pre 
senting  himself  to  him  as  an  adversary ;  but  that 
his  will  would  remain  evil,  and  he  would  neces 
sarily  become  worse,  harder  and  prouder,  whilst, 

tion  of  God  upon  the  reprobate  soul,  by  which,  through  the 
agency  of  Satan  (whose  Lord  and  rider  he  is),  combined  with 
his  own  outward  dispensations  of  word  and  work,  he  shuts  and 
seals  it  up  in  its  own  native  blindness,  aversation  and  enmity  to 
wards  himself.'  There  have  been  however,  and  doubtless  are, 
certain  special  and  splendid  exemplifications  of  this  operation, 
each  having  its  minuter  peculiarities,  whilst  the  same  essential 
nature  pervades  all. — Pharaoh  is  one  of  these. — Indeed  the  whole 
history  of  the  Exodus  is  one  of  the  most  luminous  displays, 
which  the  Lord  God  hath  ever  made,  of  the  design  he  is  pur 
suing  and  accomplishing  in  having  and  dealing  with  creatures; 
second  only  to  the  marvellous  and  complicated  history  of  the 
Lord's  death  :  whereuuto  also  it  was  appointed  ;  whereunto  also 
it  hath  been  recorded. 



still  be 

PART  IV.  in  pursuing  his  own  natural  bias  and  course,  he 

encountered  an  opposition  which  he  did  not  like, 

and  which  he  despised  through  a  confidence  in 
his  own  powers.    Thus,  you  see  it  here  confirmed 
even  by  this  very  assertion,  that  Freewill  can  do 
nothing  but  evil ;  seeing  that  God,  who  neither 
is  mistaken  through  ignorance,  nor  lies  through 
wickedness,  so  confidently  promises  the  hardening 
of  Pharaoh's  heart;  being  sure  forsooth,  that  an 
evil  will  can  will  only  evil,  and,  if  a  good  which 
contravenes  its  own  lust  be  proposed  to  it,  can 
only  be  made  worse  thereby.1 

SEC.  xv.        It  remains   therefore,    that   a   man   may  ask, 

'  Why  doth  not  God  cease  from  that  very  stimu- 

imperti-     ]ation  of  his  omiiipotency  by  which  the  wicked 

nent  ques-  .  I  j-  -,          •    i      J 

tionsmay  man's  will  is  stirred  up  to  continue  in  its  wicked 
ness,  and  to  wax  worse?'  I  answer,  '  This  is  to 
desire  that  God  should  cease  to  be  God  for  the 
sake  of  the  wicked,  if  you  wish  his  power  and 
agency  to  cease  ;  in  fact,  it  is  to  desire  that  God 
should  cease  to  be  good,  least  they  should  be 
made  worse/ — But  why  doth  he  not  at  the  same 
time  change  those  evil  wills  which  he  excites? 
This  appertaineth  to  the  secrets  of  his  Majesty  ; 
in  which  his  judgments  are  incomprehensible. 
We  have  no  business  to  ask  this  question;  our 
business  is  to  adore  these  mysteries  :  and  if  flesh 
and  blood  be  offended  here  and  murmur,  let  it 
murmur,  pray  :  it  will  get  no  forwarder  however ; 
God  will  not  be  changed  for  these  murmurs. 
And  what  if  ungodly  men  go  away  scandal 
ized  in  great  numbers  ?  The  elect  will  remain 
notwithstanding. — The  same  answer  shall  be  given 
to  those  who  ask,  '  Why  he  allowed  Adam  to  fall, 

1  "  Let  my  people  go  that  they  may  serve  me,"  is  a  good 
demand  ;  but  is  directly  contrary  to  Pharaoh's  will,  its  course 
and  propensity.  (See  the  preceding  note.) — Luther  makes  this 
act  of  God  negative  ;  save,  as  respects  God's  g-eneral  and  par 
ticular  operations  in  his  providence.  He  does  not  change  the 
will ;  he  keeps  his  moral  creature  in  being ;  he  thwarts  his  in 
clinations. — What  is  Satan,  meanwhile  ;  and  what  does  he  ? 


and  why  he  goes  on  to  make  all  of  us,  who  are  SEC.XVI. 

infected   through  the  same  sin;   when   he  might  ' 

have  kept  him  from  sinning,  and  might  either  have 
created  us  from  another  stock,  or  have  purged 
the  corrupted  seed  first?'  He  is  God :  whose  will 
has  no  cause  or  reason1"  which  can  be  prescribed 
to  it  for  rule  and  measure  ;  seeing  it  hath  no  equal 
or  superior,  but  is  itself  the  rule  of  all  things.  If 
it  had  any  rule  or  measure,  or  cause  or  reason, 
it  could  not  any  longer  be  the  will  of  God.  For 
what  he  wills  is  not  right,  because  he  ought  to 
will  so,  or  ought  to  have  willed  so  :  on  the  con 
trary,  because  he  wills  so,  therefore  what  is  done 
must  be  right.  Cause  and  reason  are  prescribed 
to  the  creature's  will,  but  not  to  the  Creator's; 
unless  you  would  set  another  Creator  over  his 

By  these  considerations  the  trope-making  Dia-  The  trope 

m  Nulla  est  causa,  nee  ratio.']  Can.  is  the  correlative  of  effect ; 
'  what  gives  origin  to  this  will :'  rat.  '  the  principle,  rate, 
method,  and  design  of  its  operations ;'  which  supposes  some 
extrinsic  standard.  There  is  no  siich  source,  or  standard,  for 
God's  will :  no  cause  which  produces  it ;  no  Tightness  which  it 

n  The  defects  of  Luther's  theology  are  strongly  manifested 
in  this  paragraph.  He  has  no  answer  to  give,  where  a  satis 
factory  one  is  at  hand  :  God  continues  to  move  the  wicked, 
because  it  is  for  his  glory  that  they  should  go  on  to  act,  just 
such  as  they  are. — For  the  same  cause  he  ordained  and  brought 
about,  or,  as  Luther  speaks,  permitted  Adam's  fall. — God  does 
not  create*  wicked  men.  (See  above,  Sect.  x.  note  z.) — God's 
will  is  cause  and  reason  to  itself:  but  he  has  a  reason  for 
all  he  does ;  and  this  reason,  so  far  as  respects  his  actings  with 
which  we  have  to  do,  is  resolvable  into  self-manifestation. 
(See  former  notes.) — As  to  these  and  such  like  questions, 
which  Luther  judges  it  improper  to  ask,  the  whole  matter  is, 
doth  the  word  of  God  furnish  an  answer  to  them,  or  not  ?  If 
it  does,  we  are  bound  to  entertain  them  and  supply  the  true 

*  Strange  that  he  should  use  the  word  '  creare,'  as  applied  to  our  gene 
ration  from  Adam. — '  When  a  thing  is  made  up  of  particles  which  did  all  of 
them  before  exist,  but  that  very  thing,  so  constituted  of  preexisting  particles, 
had  not  any  existence  before ;  this,  when  referred  to  a  substance  produced 
in  the  ordinary  course  of  nature  by  an  internal  principle,  but  set  on  work  by 
and  received  from  some  external  agent  or  cause,  nnd  working  by  insensible 
ways  which  we  perceive  not,  we  call  generation.' — Locke's  Essay,  vol.  i.  chap, 
xxvi.  sect.  2. 


PART  IV.  tribe  is  sufficiently  confuted.,  I  think ;  but  let  us 
come  to  the  text  itself,  that  we  may  see  what  sort 
°f  agreement  there  is  between  herself  and  her 

text.  trope.  It  is  customary  with  all  those  who  elude 
arguments  by  tropes,  to  despise  the  text  itself 
stoutly,  and  make  it  the